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Armed Forces Day celebration honors veterans

Rowan County’s military veterans were honored and remembered at the annual Armed Forces Day celebration held Saturday, May 17, at the Patriots Flag Concourse and Memorial at Salisbury’s City Park.
Several hundred veterans and guests attended the event sponsored by the city of Salisbury, Rowan County Veterans Council and the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
The highlight of the ceremony was the retrieval and raising of the American flag and six services flags on permanent display at the Flag Concourse. Seven new flags provided by the Military Officers Association were posted by Junior ROTC cadets. A POW/MIA flag was also posted with the American flag for the first time at the memorial park.
Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson presented a proclamation from the city of Salisbury. Martha Corriher and the Carson High School Band provided patriotic music.
Members of the East Rowan High School and North Rowan High School JROTC programs were on hand for the posting of colors and the raising of the new flags.
Decorated U.S. Army veteran Eddie Griffin gave the keynote address and thanked all veterans for their service to the country. Guests included two of Rowan County’s highest ranking veterans, Gen. James Emerson, U.S. Army, and Gen. Harold Earnhardt, U.S. Air Force and N.C. National Guard. State representatives Harry Warren and Carl Ford and Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten also attended.
Ronnie Smith, U.S. Air Force veteran, and David Hand, president of the Rowan County Veterans Council, presided.
“Let us never forget that freedom is not free. Please join me in thanking our military service men and women and all out veterans. We also thank God for our great country. Without our veterans, we would have no country,” Smith said.
Reid Leonard of the Salisbury Rotary Club, David Lee, president of Military Officers Association, Chris Boardman, U.S. Army veteran and East Rowan High School JROTC instructor, Hercules Shannon, veteran and member of Veterans Council, and Smith helped to plan and organize the annual event.
The ceremony ended with the playing of taps and a gun volley by the Rowan Veterans Honor Guard.

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