North Carolina Honors Veterans
Posted November 10, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Veterans Day honors the agreement that ended World War I, but it has become a time when the nation recognizes the men and women who serve and protect the United States.
Veterans across the country will be honored on this federal holiday with ceremonies and parades, including events in Raleigh andFayetteville.
A few hundreds veterans and their supporters came out for the Raleigh parade, ready with flags, in spite of some light rain.
This year's celebration was a little quieter than previous ones because the veterans could not find a band to play. They say it is one more indication that there is declining interest in the people who fought for our freedom.
"They enjoy the freedom, but they don't want to show any respect or anything else for the people who have given their lives, been away from their families, lost arms, legs, to ensure that they keep their freedom," said veteran Roy Hatcher.
Teri Aull has not lost interest in the military, in fact she encouraged her family to participate in Thursday's activities.
"It's important to me and them," she says. "My son's marching in it, and he's very interested in joining the military himself, so I took the day off, and here I am."
Many people hope memorials like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in downtown Raleigh will help renew interest in the people and battles that earned our freedom.
InFayetteville, thousands of people turned out to honor the military.
The town went all out for the second annual moving tribute to veterans there dating back to World War II.
The fun was not limited to the view on the streets. The crowd was treated to exciting flyovers by C-130s and A-10s.
Veterans say they are thrilled with the hundreds of young people who came out this year to honor them. "It's nice to commemorate veterans like myself and honor those that gave their lives for the country in World War II and World War I also. It makes us a better place," said Vietnam veteran Gerald McLean.
Organizers say they had a crowd of about 1,200 for the parade last year. This year, they think the numbers tripled, and that over 3,000 people showed up.
Veterans are also celebrating a different type of victory. Congress has set aside an additional $1.7 billion in the VA budget this year. That money could go toward benefits, health care, and upgrading facilities used by veterans.