On Saturday, McDowell County residents – both here at home and in New York City – will pay tribute to those who have worn the uniform in service to our country.
Saturday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. It started out as Armistice Day, which was the day World War I came to an end. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the long and bloody fighting during what is still called by many the Great War finally ceased in Europe. On Nov. 11, 1918, the armistice was signed and a ceasefire declared. In later years in the United States, Armistice Day eventually became known as Veterans Day.
On this special day, people from all over will pause to remember and honor those who wore the uniform of our country, both dead and alive.
Doug Gouge, the county’s veterans services officer, said McDowell had 3,394 veterans. He added this is an estimate based on the most recent number available from 2016.
Here in McDowell County, a special ceremony will be held.
The annual Veterans Day ceremony will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the McDowell County Senior Center and the county veterans memorial.
Retired Army Major Robert Smith will welcome all those who attend. Richard Anderson, a veteran chaplain with CarePartners Hospice and Palliative Care of McDowell, will give invocation. Former County Commissioner and Vietnam War veteran Randy Hollifield will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Maggie Effler, Miss Blue Ridge Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2017, will sing the national anthem. American Legion Post 56 will bring forward the flags representing the different branches of military service and Effler will sing the songs associated with them.
Legionnaires with Post 56 will also conduct a flag-folding ceremony and “Taps” will be played.
Smith will recognize veterans, alive or dead, during the event. The members of the local Daughters of the American Revolution and Post 56 will lay a wreath at the county’s memorial.
Retired Marine Capt. Oscar Creech will be the guest speaker at Saturday’s ceremony. Anderson will pronounce the benediction.
At around the same time, McDowell County’s younger generation will also pay tribute to our veterans on that day but in a far away and much bigger location.
On Saturday, the McDowell High marching band will participate in the Veterans Day parade in the middle of New York City.