Fayetteville Memorial Day celebration honors fallen heroes
Updated: 05/28/2012 08:09 PM
By: Evan Donovan
FAYETTEVILLE -- Memorial Day in Fayetteville carries special meaning. The unofficial home of the U.S. Army is also home to veterans of all military branches. A few hundred veterans and civilians gathered in Freedom Memorial Park on Monday morning for an emotional ceremony honoring the men and women who have died in service to our country.
Hubert Sutton and Freeman Williams were part of the ceremony. Veterans of the Vietnam War, they were asked to carry the wreath honoring fallen veterans of the Korean War.
"It was a good ceremony, and an emotional one, because you think of some of your friends who are not present here today," said Sutton.
Williams talked about the privilege to carry the wreath. "It's an honor, it was a very nice ceremony, but you do get teary-eyed," he said. "Just because you're a man, you do cry. I had to wipe a tear at the start."
Monday's program included a very emotional tribute to the POWs and MIAs from all previous American conflicts. North Carolina's chapter of the Rolling Thunder made an honorary presentation to the "Missing Man Table" signifying those who have still never come home.
Alan James led that ceremony. He's an active duty member of the U.S. Army's 249th Engineer Battalion.
"It really hits home with me when you're presenting your honors to those people who are missing," he said. "Those empty chairs that never came home, that's the best part of doing one of these ceremonies to me."
And it wasn't just an emotional day for the veterans.
Joan Jenkins was at the ceremony with her daughter and grandchildren. Her dad served in Korea and WWII, and her husband served in Vietnam.
"We were at the ceremony, it was beautiful, very moving," said Jenkins. "I cried a lot."
Jerry Moss attended with his wife, Jane. Jerry is a self-described "military brat" whose father served in Vietnam.
"It just stirs up a lot of your patriotic heart," said Moss. "I'm glad to be able to come up here today."
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