Cross-county ceremonies pay homage to America's heroes

Nov. 13, 2012 @ 08:06 AM

Veterans made amazing sacrifices for America, Rutherfordton Mayor Jimmy Dancy said Monday morning during a salute to veterans as he welcomed those attending a ceremony in Forest City. About 80 veterans, their guests and the public attended the ceremony at the Carolina Event & Conference Center in Forest City.

"It's never too late to give them a hero's welcome home," said Janelle Sayre, said in welcoming the veterans.

Veterans from World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars stood to the applause of the crowd and were thanked for their service.

"We want to tell all the men and women here we appreciate all the sacrifices they have made," Sayre said.

Dancy talked about his own father, Odell Dancy, a veteran of the Korean War; his brother, who served in Alaska. Dancy is also a veteran, serving on Okinawa.

Dancy said his father sometimes talked about the affects of war on so many people and the toll it took.

"We give thanks to all veterans," he said.

After the brief ceremony,a USO-Show from the World War II era was presented and by a group of vocalists and dancers.

Also saluting the heroes on Saturday were friends and guests at the Mary B. Mullen Bible Camp in Lake Lure where veterans gathered at an outdoor pavilion at the camp.

The community gathered to keep the soldiers' legacies alive, said Yvonne Gordon, who was among those attending.

Veterans from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force also stood and received a resounding applause and "thanks-you" for their service to Americans.

Among special guests was Prentis F. Campbell, Vice-State Commander of the National Association of Black Veterans, Jacksonville Marine Chapter 0054, and his team.The team presented the colors before Campbell addressed all the veterans. 

He talked about benefits available to veterans and veterans' widows, which according to Gordon,"surprised a few members of the crowd in attendance."

Campbell and his team conducted a question and answer session and later assisted veterans and widows in completing the necessary paper work to begin their personal benefits process. 

Later in the program, a solemn/moving memorial candle lighting ceremony was conducted as guests paid tribute to those who paid the supreme sacrifice.

Willie Mae Ledbetter designed a power-point presentation, outlining both the refurbishing efforts underway at the camp, and a listing of veterans who are buried in local community and church cemeteries.

Soul stirring gospel songs and patriotic songs were rendered by The Lake Lure Community Choir and the Oak Grove Church Choir of Forest City, said Gordon.

Closing remarks and prayer for the veterans was made by Rev. Edgar Waters, Jr., pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church of Lake Lure.

The program was organized by Velma Dianne McCurry who provided a list of local veterans from the community, sought food donations, obtained cooks for the day, outlined the program, obtained choirs, made a red, white and blue quilt door prize and personally financed other gifts specifically for the veterans.