Posthumous diploma among special touches for Shue at ceremony
By Elizabeth Cook
KANNAPOLIS — Donnie Shue left A.L. Brown High School in 11th grade to join the Army and fight in Vietnam.
More than 40 years later, Shue will finally receive his high school diploma on Saturday, posthumously.
Shue died in Laos in 1969 at the age of 20. His remains were not positively identified until this year.
The diploma is one of several special touches the city of Kannapolis has planned for a 20-minute ceremony honoring Shue noon Saturday in Village Park.
The ceremony comes amid two days of activities focused on honoring Shue and his service in Special Forces — activities that are expected to draw thousands of motorcyclists, veterans and flag-waving citizens.
Since Shue lived in Concord several years before moving to Kannapolis, both cities have planned ceremonies to honor him Saturday.
Here are the steps in Shue’s final journey:
• The flight: Shue’s remains will be flown from Pearl Harbor to Charlotte-Douglas Airport.
• The procession: With two Apache helicopters leading the way, a huge procession will escort the remains to Concord. Included will be Rolling Thunder, Patriot Guard Riders and other motorcycle clubs, as well as law enforcement agencies from Concord, Kannapolis and Cabarrus. The Highway Patrol and Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities will assist.
• The route: From the airport, the procession will take I-85 north to I-485, taking exit 33 to go through Harrisburg to Warren C. Coleman Boulevard to Union Street and into downtown Concord.
• Along the way: Citizens are encouraged to line the procession route holding American flags, and residences and business are encouraged to display flags and other patriotic items.
• Concord ceremony: Around 11 a.m. in front of City Hall, 26 Union St S. The ceremony will include musical performances and presentations from government and veterans groups.
• Concord parking: In the Cabarrus Avenue Parking Deck, other on-street parking areas and surface parking lots accessible from Church and Spring Streets.
• Route to Kannapolis: Church Street North to Brookwood Avenue, turn left on Brookwood to Branchview Drive (NC 3), north on Branchview to Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, Earnhardt Boulevard to U.S. 29, turn right (north on US 29), north on 29 to Jackson Park Road, left on Jackson Park Road to Main Street.
• Kannapolis ceremony: Noon, Veterans Park. Includes presentation of the colors, the A.L. Brown High School Band, remarks by elected officials, a proclamation by Mayor Bob Misenheimer, diploma from Superintendent Dr. Pamela Cain, flag presentation by former Special Forces members.
• Kannapolis parking: Road closures along the procession route will begin at 11 a.m. Parking will be available downtown, designated by event parking signs.
• Route to Whitley’s: From Village Park, the procession will go north on Main Street, turn right onto Jackson Park Road, right again onto Cannon Boulevard and left onto Dale Earnhardt Boulevard.
• Public visitation: Whitley’s Funeral Home, 1748 Dale Earnhardt Blvd., 4-6 p.m.
• Funeral and burial: 2 p.m. funeral at Whitley’s Funeral Home, followed by burial in Carolina Memorial Park.
• Procession: From Whitley’s, the procession will go right onto Dale Earnhardt Boulevard, right on Cannon Boulevard and travel to Carolina Memorial Park. (Bikers are asked to arrive at Whitley’s no later than 1 p.m.)