Armed Forces Day celebration honors veterans’ service

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 17, 2015

By Megan Braun

For the Salisbury Post

The 4th annual Armed Forces Day celebration honoring veterans was held Saturday morning at the Patriots Flag Concourse Memorial, located near Hurley Park. Saturday marked the 65th anniversary of Armed Forces Day. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

The event focused on retrieving the old flags and replacing them with new ones, donated by the Military Officers Association of America. West Rowan High School JROTC assisted with the posting of the colors. At the memorial, the flags representing each military branch fly alongside the American flag.

“We appreciate what our veterans do. We couldn’t do what we do without them,” said state Rep. Carl Ford, who represents the 76th district in the NC House. Ford was in attendance alongside 77th district House Rep. Harry Warren.

“We are here to show our respect for the veteran’s many sacrifices,” Warren said. Warren’s son, Jason is a disabled Army veteran.

Mayor Paul Woodson read the proclamation officially marking Saturday as Armed Forces Day.

“We owe so much to the folks that came before us, in wars past,” Woodson said. “It makes me feel really good to see everyone come out to celebrate.”

Veteran Roy Wilkins delivered the keynote address, speaking of his experience serving in special forces and the impact that serving made on his life. In Afghanistan, his Humvee struck an improvised explosive device, causing Wilkins to lose a leg. On Saturday, he was presented a plaque for his outstanding service.

“I thought it ruined my life, but it made me a better man. I get to come share my story,” he said. “All I remember of that day was seeing a blue flash.”

Providing music for the event was the West Rowan High brass quintet and soloist Martha Corriher with the American Legion Post 146. Debbie Suggs catered hotdogs and Cheerwine for the reception.