ELIZABETHTOWN — This year’s Veteran’s Day ceremony promises to be a reflective time for Bladen County residents.
On Wednesday, the Bladen County Veteran’s Day Committee will host its annual ceremony, an event organized by county and town representatives, veterans, and general public for the special purpose.
“This is a good time for the community to reflect and commemmorate,” said Ann Garrett, chair of the committee.
In its 12th year, the ceremony will begin with the presentation of colors by a coordinated group from the JROTCs at East Bladen and West Bladen, along with Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy cadets. Wayne Schaeffer, chief petty officer, U.S. Navy (Ret.) will be master of ceremonies. After welcomes from various elected officials and county leaders, the West Bladen High School band will lead guests in a recognition of veterans by playing a melody of the fight songs for each branch while veterans stand to be recognized when they hear their song.
After a memorial tribute in memory of James “Jim” Robert Burney, staff sergeant, U.S. Air Force by U.S. Air Force Capt. Tiina Munday and the Army’s Ann Garrett, Jason Wray, U.S. Army (Ret.) will serve as the guest speaker.
“(Wray) is a U.S. Army vet, but he’s also principal at East Bladen,” said Garrett. “He has done a lot of outstanding things with the community as well as the school, so we’re glad to have him with us.”
A recognition of outstanding cadets will be conducted by Paul R. Brown’s Roland McKoy, Bladen County Schools’ Antonia Beatty, Willa Dean Williams, and Tanya Head, as well as Garrett. One cadet will be recognized from each of the three high schools — East Bladen, West Bladen, and Paul R. Brown.
Kalen Hunsinger, welding student at Bladen Community College, will play taps, and a commemmorative wreath will be presented by representatives from American Legion Post 404, VFW Post 8062, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 99, and cadets from the high schools.
All music for the ceremony will be provided by the West Bladen band, under the direction of Alan Martin.
After the ceremony, lunch will be served by NCWorks Career Center staff, Bladen Community College WIOA staff, and Bladen County Department of Social Services.
The event is open to the public and is free.
The Bladen County Veteran’s Day Ceremony will take place at the National Guard Armory, located on Swanzy Street in Elizabethtown, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
— A Veterans Day ceremony will be held at the Bladenboro Historical Building on Saturday at 2 p.m. to honor all veterans. The public is invited.
—A Veterans Appreciation Day cookout will be held Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at 109 Hill St. in Elizabethtown. Open to all veterans and the public.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.