Anson County celebrated its veterans on Monday with a parade through uptown Wadesboro, followed by a ceremony on the courthouse steps. An afternoon event at Ray Shelton Ballfield, which included a free meal for veterans, as well as free flu shots, rounded out the day's festivities.
The parade featured rousing patriotic music by the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band out of Fort Bragg, as well as the nation's future veterans, Anson High School JROTC members, and many of Anson County's veterans and leaders.
Anson County native Judy Cox, a U.S. Army veteran, served as the emcee for the 11 a.m. Veterans Day ceremony. “We thank you every day, not just today,” she told the veterans gathered. Pastor Charles Sturdivant, also an Army veteran, led the invocation, thanking the veterans for their service. James Bennett, commander of VFW Post 10403, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, after AMVET Post 316 of Rockingham presented the nation's colors. Sgt. Chris Harrington of the N.C. Army National Guard, gave a short welcome address, thanking his fellow veterans again for their service.
Veterans were asked to stand when the name of their town was called, with veterans attending from all of Anson County's townships, including Ansonville, Lilesville, Morven, Peachland, Polkton and Wadesboro.
Donnie Jordan, a retired Marine, introduced the guest speaker for the ceremony, U.S. Air Force veteran Vernon L. Robinson of Winston-Salem. Robinson is a 1977 graduate of the Air Force Academy, whose father was one of the Tuskegee Airman and whose mother was a nurse.
Robinson started off his speech by telling of a letter he recently received from the widow of a World War II veteran. The woman's husband was the only one in his platoon who was not killed in the Battle of the Bulge. Until the day he died, he carried with him the question of why was he saved when all of his fellow soldiers perished. “I think there's a pretty good chance he was spared so he could come back and tell us all that his buddies gave all of their tomorrows so we could have today,” Robinson said.
The topic of Robinson's speech centered around the need for everyone to know their ancestry, particularly the veterans in their family. “I'm honored to have a father, three uncles and an aunt who were involved in the Tuskegee Airmen,” he said.
Robinson's family is full of veterans, dating all the way back to the War of 1812, he said. Ancestors on his mother's side fought as part of the Louisiana Native Guard, a unit for men of color in the Civil War. “It makes learning history more interesting when you know your ancestry,” he said.
Robinson ended by saluting all NCOs (non-commissioned officers) because as he said, NCOs are the ones who win wars.
Commissioner Jarvis Woodburn, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, ended the ceremony by telling the veterans, “On behalf of county government, we are very proud of the sacrifices you've made.”
More photos from the Veterans Day parade and ceremony can be found on The Anson Record's Facebook page.