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Parade honors local veterans, love of country

By Hannah Simpson
Around the Town Editor

Veterans and area businesses, schools and residents gathered Nov. 10 along Third Street for the Veterans Day parade and ceremony.

Photo by Hannah Simpson
The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (P.O.W./M.I.A.) flag flies in unison beside the American and N.C. state flags at the Veterans Day ceremony. A marble slab tribute to soldiers of foreign wars rests below them. The Veterans Day festivities in Pembroke included a parade and ceremony honoring veterans and current soldiers.
Photo by Hannah Simpson
Molly Jacobs, widow of a veteran of World War II, listens to a speech at the Pembroke Town Park on Veterans Day. Jacobs said she tries to ride on a float in the parade each year.

The ceremony was held at Pembroke Town Park at 11 a.m. in honor of the men and women who fought to protect the country and featured veteran guest speakers.

“I feel humbled the midst of...all the veterans of all the wars,” said guest speaker retired Marine Corps Sgt. James Otten.

Sgt. Otten said he was proud of the JROTC members who marched in the parade.

I hope they truly understand the cost of freedom, Sgt. Otten said.

Sgt. Otten related a story about a friend who had died without revealing that he was a war hero.

Veterans don’t boast their battles or their medals, Sgt. Otten said.

“When it really comes down to it, you’re there for the next man next to you,” he said.

The fact that the military is a group of volunteer men, free from the draft or force to join, makes him proud to honor them, he said.

“The men that are fighting right now, we should always...elevate them,” he said.

Sgt. Otten named several veterans he wished to honor, including Keith Carter of Fairmont, who was injured in Iraq.

“I’m proud to be a native,” he said. “We have a lot of awe-some people in this county.”

VFW Post Commander Daniel Jones defined veterans as a “person who fell in love with their country.”

They serve honorably and love their country passionately, he said.

“American veterans... are of every creed,” Jones said.

“We are the 26 million Americans today who have proudly worn the uniform, and we are the more than 1 million who have died in war,” he continued.

The parade began at 9 a.m. at Pembroke Elementary and traveled to Pembroke Town Park beside Burger King.

Bystanders waved as floats made by area businesses and organizations drifted down the street.

UNCP and area marching bands and pageant winners also participated.

Photo by Hannah Simpson
The Pembroke Veterans of Foreign Wars float glides down Third Street onto Odum Road during the Veterans Day parade. Several marching bands participated from area schools, including Purnell Swett, Pembroke Elementary and the UNCP Spirit of the Carolinas marching band. Area businesses rode in floats to show support, including the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce, the Lumbee Tribe of N.C. Office of Veteran Affairs, Lumberton Ford Lincoln Mercury, Lumbee Bank and Saddletree Church of God. Area JROTC’s also showed support by marching.

Photo by Hannah Simpson
Veteran of Korea James C. Dial reads the monument to officers of foreign wars.

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Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2007
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