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Rowan pays tribute to veterans at parade

Sean Douthit proudly walked hand-in-hand with son, Joshua, as the 5-year-old waved to a crowd during Monday’s Veteran’s Day parade while on the campus of the Hefner VA Medical Center.
Douthit, a 23-year veteran of the N.C. Army National Guard, wore his dress blues, while his son wore Army fatigues and the two walked together for the second time in the parade.
“It’s humbling,” he said of the supportive crowd.
“We do this for these guys,” he said pointing to veterans sitting in wheelchairs.
Douthit said he considers himself “lucky to serve this great country of ours.”
There are times when he thinks people forget about the military men and women who serve.
“At times it is taken for granted. We are still a nation at war and people have lost sight of that,” Douthit said.
His wife, Jamie, and daughter, Madison Welborne, 11, also walked in the parade with Girl Scout Troop 3155, based out of Milford Hills United Methodist Church.
D.L. Morgan served four years in Vietnam and just recently joined the veterans organization Rolling Thunder. The nonprofit civic service organization, whose primary mission is to raise awareness that there are many American service men and women who are still unaccounted for after becoming Prisoners of War or Missing In Action.
He attended the parade, for the first time, along with other members of the organization. He comes from a military family and has three brothers who served, as well as nieces and nephews.
Stanley Peace, who served in the Army during the Persian Gulf said people forget there are a lot of nameless veterans out there — ones who are hurting, physically and mentally.
A lot of his fellow soldiers didn’t make it back to the states after serving, he said.
Hugh Beaver, a Navy veteran of WW II, said the parade means a great deal to him and others like him who served at the time.
“You look back on it with great pride,” Beaver said.
Beaver was there with his daughter-in-law, Joan Beaver, who visits him regularly.
“They’ve served our country,” Joan said of the veterans.
“You are proud and you want them to know it,” she said.
Robin Kluttz-Ellison, director/owner of Noah’s Playloft Preschool, located just across the street from the VA Medical Center, brought a group of children to the parade. The children sat on the edge of the sidewalk, waving to veterans and others in the parade.
“We talk a little about patriotism on their terms. They know camouflage is affiliated with the war and they relate it as someone who is a hero,” said teacher Stacey Leonard.
Jane Buckner, who also works at the daycare, attended the parade in support of her granddaughter and great-granddaughter, who were in the parade, and as the spouse of a veteran. Her husband, Henry, served in Vietnam for three years.
“I think the younger people don’t realize what went on in the aftermath of WWII,” she said.
She also believes attending the Veteran’s Day parade is a reminder of the sacrifices that were made on their behalf, Buckner said.
Donna Montgomery attended the parade with boyfriend Howard Pennington who served in the Army. Her daughter also marched with the South Rowan High School JROTC.
“We feel it’s an honor for us to come out and support our troops. We feel the least we can do is honor the veterans. We salute them,” Montgomery said.
She said it’s important that veterans also know they “were important then and are still important now to us.”
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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