Robbinsville/Graham County residents honored Veterans with a ceremony, parade and 5K run sponsored by Graham County Travel & Tourism on a chilly but exhilarating Nov. 11, 2017.
Just as the ceremony at Robbinsville High School began, the wind picked up as if on cue and the flags unfurled and came to attention, according to Brian “Taco” Johnson, Town of Robbinsville alderman and marketing director.
While waiting to ride in the parade, Veterans reflected on what it meant to serve their country.
Hubert Merchant: “I am so glad to see that today our vets are receiving the recognition they deserve.
When I arrived home from my tour in Vietnam, we had to remove our uniforms before we were
released so that we would not get harassed.”
Jacky Crisp on himself and Steve Stewart: “In 1972, me and this gentleman went in the Marine Corps on the ‘Buddy Plan’. That’s 45 years ago and we’re still buddies.”
Chris Burchfield: “I served in the U.S. Army for 16 years and was stationed in Germany and different bases around the U.S. as a combat engineer and the military police.”
Alan Garver: “I was with the United States Navy Seabees. I was stationed in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, Monterey, CA, Okinawa, Christmas Island, Wake Island, anywhere they had a ton of sand and one palm tree. I served 21 years.”
Many of our local vets served extended tours of duty, many serving more than 20 years.
During a pre-parade ceremony in front of Robbinsville High School, John Shuler delivered the opening prayer, Harold Phillips led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Mandy and Gracie Millsaps sang the National Anthem. Speakers included Robbinsville Mayor Steve Hooper, Graham County Commissioner Connie Orr and county manager Becky Garland.
Boy Scout Troop 405 served as the color guard to head up the parade and the Graham County Fire Department pulled up the rear.
After the parade, the American Legion/VFW Hall hosted approximately 100 vets for a well-deserved meal.