Some people staged a walkout at East Chapel Hill High School while other massive antiwar demonstrations took place in Chicago and Washington, D.C., Thursday, but in Cumberland County, there is an opposite scene.
Churches are opening their doors during the day for prayer instead of protest. Community leaders tied a huge yellow ribbon on an oak tree in a symbol of hope soldiers and airmen will return OK.
"When [you] find out things like this, I know I did personally, you know you are doing something out there for someone who appreciates it," Spc. Denton Carter said.
"Our reactions should be one of unity among this diverse nation. Our reactions should be one of a sense of greater understanding of our sense of liberty and freedom," Fayetteville Mayor Marshall Pitts said.
Across Jacksonville and in Onslow County, patriotic symbols and signs are on almost every corner. Many businesses in the area are offering discounts to military spouses while the troops are deployed. More than 50,000 Marines and sailors are normally stationed in the southeastern part of North Carolina.
Some local radio stations are even encouraging listeners to download Clint Black's new military song, "Iraq and Roll," from his
Bridget Smittle's husband is deployed. She and her young children say the community has opened its arms to the families and forces.
"We're a military town and here to support our troops and to tell them you aren't going to get spit on when you come back like people did during Vietnam," Smittle said. "We are here for them. We love them. We support them. We just need them to know we are going to be here when they get back."
More than 32,000 veterans call Cumberland County home.