Salisbury’s Veterans Day festivities soldier on despite weather

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, November 14, 2023

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s Veterans Day festivities went off without a hitch despite Saturday’s forecast for bad weather. Even with the rain, the parades at the Salisbury VA Health Care System and on Main Street were able to proceed without any issues.

A ceremony was also held Saturday morning inside building six at the VA. During that ceremony, Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander read a proclamation honoring Veterans Day, Senator Carl Ford spoke and Representative Harry Warren read the poem “Old Glory.”

“We just do all we can in Raleigh to help our veterans, because we appreciate you and we thank you every day. We thank you what you’ve done for us, what you do for us and what you’ll continue to do for us in the future,” said Ford.

After Warren read the poem, he echoed Ford in speaking about the importance of veterans to the state of North Carolina.

“North Carolina legislature recognizes that veteran benefits are the responsibility of the federal government, but that doesn’t stop us from having passed more than 75 bills since 2011 to address the needs of our veterans when they get out of the service and to help them find employment, further their education and for them to find the pursuit of happiness that they fought so hard for us to have as well,” said Warren.

Interim Executive Director Charles “Dave” Collins was the keynote speaker for the event. Collins spoke about his experience as a veteran of the Air Force and what he has witnessed as part of the VA.

“Veterans Day, there’s so many different ways of defining it. Some veterans will gather with old friends, reminiscing about days living in the barracks and being a part of something greater than themselves. A sense of camaraderie you can’t find anywhere else. Some veterans will spend today wrestling with thoughts, revisiting memories of serving while deployed overseas, often in arduous combat conditions like the dense jungles of Vietnam or the unforgiving streets of Fallujah. Some veterans will visit cemeteries like the one we have here and take time, perhaps, to enjoy a drink at the headstone of their brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Collins.

After the speakers, Rowan County Veterans Council Chairman Josh Dobbs asked the oldest veteran in the room to cut the cake. Dobbs provided his noncommissioned officer’s sword for the cutting.

The parade through the VA campus followed the ceremony. During the parade, veterans from the nearby VA community living center were brought out to the sidewalk, where many of the participating JROTC students saluted them as they passed by.

Bands and JROTC programs from local high schools made up the majority of the parade participants. Also included in the procession were local VFW and American Legion posts, classic cars and firetrucks and local politicians.