From Coinjock to Edenton, residents honor vets
By Chris Day, Nicole Bowman-Layton and Miles Layton
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Residents around the region turned out Monday to honor and celebrate the nation’s veterans in ceremonies held from Coinjock to Edenton.
At Veterans Memorial Park in Coinjock, Rep. Bobby Hanig, R-Currituck, said Americans must do a better job of honoring the nation’s veterans, particularly those who’ve suffered the tragedies of war.
“Some of their wounds, both physical and mental, will never heal,” said Hanig, an Army veteran himself. “We must, we absolutely must as a nation do our best to honor them, treat them and love them.”
Hanig was speaking before more than 100 people attending American Legion Post 288’s Veterans Day ceremony.
“Today we celebrate the wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers and loved ones who’ve sacrifice so much,” Hanig continued. “Those who’ve lost loved ones and those who’ve had their loved ones return only to find they’re changed both mentally and physically. They have a long road ahead of them.”
Hanig described life in the military as a brotherhood, where each member is equal to the other and will rally around a common goal.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, white, black, Hispanic, Indian, Republican or Democrat,” he said. “When the call of battle sounds, we all come together to defeat tyranny, oppression, and evil all around the world.”
At a Veterans Day ceremony in Edenton, a retired Army lieutenant colonel gave the keynote speech.
Lt. Col. William “Joe” Ward, who retired in July after 34 years in the Army, noted how he left the Army several times during his military career but each time he eventually re-enlisted. When he finally did decide to retire, friends and family asked him, “haven’t you had enough.”
“I didn’t realize it at the time, but my friends and family just wanted to see me get out of harm’s way,” the American Legion Post 40 member said. “To me, the military is who I am, what I do.”
Ward, a member of John A. Holmes High School Class of 1985, encouraged the community to work to honor and remember veterans the remaining 364 days of the year.
“So far, 30,000 soldiers have been killed in the global war on terror,” he said. “We are losing 22 veterans a day to suicide. We’re losing more soldiers to suicide than we have in combat. There is a stigma that prevents soldiers from getting help. We need to remove those barriers so our veterans can seek help. We must honor their sacrifice and make sure their needs are met on the other 364 days a year.”
In Perquimans County, Hertford’s Veterans Day celebration touched on the values that define the nation.
Veterans escorted by members of Boy Scout Troop 150 and Cub Scout Pack 150 planted flags from the branches of the military in the sidewalk leading to the base of the war memorial monument. The Perquimans High School Marching Band, as directed by Principal Wayne Price, provided the patriotic music to set the tone. Speeches were made by distinguished local leadership from American Legion Posts 126 and 362.
Perquimans County Manager Frank Heath gave the keynote speech in front of the historic county courthouse.
“The liberties and values for which our nation stands are all safe today, because the brave men and women in our midst at this ceremony have been ready to answer the call when service beckons them to action; to stand at the front and fight for freedom for you, me and our families,” Heath said. “To the veterans here today, we say ‘thank you and ‘God bless you. To the families you left behind to go serve, we say thank you for your sacrifice, and for holding down the fort at home. For those who bear the scars of battle, we pledge to honor and respect you, so help us God.”