Saluting the veterans|Memorials rededicated as a part of observance

Published 3:53 am Thursday, November 12, 2009

Community Editor

A rousing rendition of “God Bless the USA” by Kim Rogers highlighted the Veterans Day observance at American Legion Post 15 on American Legion Road.
Rogers, whose father served in the first Gulf War, got choked up during her performance before the audience helped her by singing the patriotic anthem loud and proud. Tears filled the eyes of war veterans and civilians alike as Rogers wrapped up her rendition of the song. The sound of sniffles and handkerchiefs filled the air for some time.
The performance served as the emotional high point in a service filled with recognition of and dedication to America’s veterans.
After a rededication of the city’s World War I and World War II memorials, Betsey Lee Hodges, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 15 president, provided recognition to the nation’s war veterans. Starting with World War I, she asked all of the service personnel in attendance to stand during the wars in which they defended the nation.
The audience included veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the first Gulf War. Many veterans donned some of the military garb from their days in uniform.
Following the recognition, Hodges and members of Auxiliary Unit 15 presented the veterans with poppies, the memorial symbol of the American Legion Auxiliary.
“Veterans Day is a joyous time. Thank you for protecting America,” Hodges told the veterans in attendance.
Veterans were not the only ones recognized during the hour-long service.
Third- and fifth-graders from Chocowinity Middle School and John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School participated in a poppy-poster drawing contest to learn about Veterans Day. Maggie Vaughn, a fifth-grader from Chocowinity Middle School, was recognized for having the best drawing in her class, while Demarkus Worsley placed first at John Cotten Tayloe, Justin Acker took second and Jonathan Martinez came in third.
The winning students’ drawings were displayed at the service, and many attendees took some time to look at the top posters after the service.
Hodges said that some of the third-graders at John Cotten Tayloe were pen pals with American troops stationed abroad.
“It’s a study of veterans and what they mean to this country,” she said in regard to the pen-pal project.
During the service, Hodges noted that the World War I and World War II memorials were supposed to be rededicated at Veterans Park on East Third Street. Because of inclement weather, the memorials were dedicated at the American Legion post, but Hodges encouraged everyone to visit the memorials at Veterans Park on a brighter day.
Hodges rededicated the World War I memorial, explaining that it was originally on the southwest corner of the Tar-Pamlico River bridge. She said that 28 Beaufort County veterans were killed in action during the war.
Jack Pyburn, a Navy veteran, rededicated the World War II memorial. He said there are 84 names on the memorial. Those names include names synonymous with Beaufort County, names like Alligood, Carawan and Peed.
American Legion State Adjutant Frank Stancil gave the service’s main address. He recited a quote from former President Ronald Reagan.
“Veterans are ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” Stancil said.