Annual observance celebrates veterans

Published 6:33 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

Two veterans, who regularly attend Veterans Day observances at Washington’s Veterans Memorial Park, made it clear why they attend the observances and what Veterans Day means to them.

“I’m real proud to have served in the Navy. When I see an event like this, all the citizens backing our armed forces, I think that’s great,” said Jack Pyburn, who served in the Navy during World War II. “That’s probably the greatest meaning to me, the crowd here, a mixture of everybody, all kinds of citizens, all Americans — that’s it.”

“Well, my daddy was a veteran. He’s dead. It means a lot to me because I think about the flag, I think about my country, I think about the freedoms that we have. I don’t take any of that stuff for granted,” said Phil Mobley, an Air Force veteran. “It really irritates me when I see this stuff on TV, when I see the burning of the flag and that kind of stuff, it irritates me a lot. Our country needs to get it together. Veterans Day is definitely, from my standpoint, about respecting veterans, their families and those kinds of things.”

Pyburn and Mobley were among the crowd at the Friday observance that began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when most Veterans Day events begin. That specific time, date and month reflect when hostilities ceased during World War I. About half the crowd were veterans.

Jerry Cobb, a veteran and former veterans service officer in Washington, urged veterans to claim benefits they earned while wearing the uniforms of their country. Cobb invited veterans to use their health-care benefits through the Veterans Administration hospital and clinics. He prodded them to take advantage of the “veterans preference” when looking for jobs after leaving the military. Cobb reminded them to seek a college degree within 10 years after being honorably discharged from their respective branches of the military so that opportunity does fade away with time.

Cobb asked veterans to make sure they vote. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain,” he said, adding that he would like to see area veterans run for public office, such as a seat on a board of commissioners or a city council.

The annual event included an observance for POW-MIA service members. Jim Hackney, a member of American Legion Post 15, played the national anthem on a trumpet. Later, he played the Armed Forces Medley, during which veterans stood when their respective service songs were played — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Merchant Marine.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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