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Veterans remembered in solemn Broadway ceremony

Sanford Herald - 11/16/2023

Nov. 14—BROADWAY — Veterans were remembered Saturday in a solemn ceremony held at the N.C. Veterans Memorial Pavilion in Broadway.

The Veterans Day observance drew a crowd, despite the intermittent rain throughout the event.

Broadway Mayor Donald Andrews opened the ceremony by welcoming the attendees to Broadway and the N.C. Veterans Memorial and Disabled Veterans Monument.

"We need the rain, so we can't complain too much," Andrews said of the weather. "I want to offer a special thanks to the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 5 and Auxiliary Unit 5."

Andrews noted that North Carolina is home to more than 800,000 veterans.

"Veterans are an integral part of the communities they live in," he said. "They volunteer in their communities, start new businesses in their communities and lead in their communities. Thank you for your sacrifice and service and your willingness to protect us so that we can enjoy the many freedoms and liberties that we too often take for granted. May God bless you and your families and may God continue to bless the United States of America."

Members of the Lee County High School JROTC raised the flags as Diego Lopez Castillo, a Southern Lee High School choral student, sang the National Anthem. Army Veteran JR Poe led the Pledge of Allegiance and Navy Veteran Roy Lee Buchanan gave the invocation.

Dr. Eldon Sloan, who was the co-chair and a key figure in bringing both the N.C. Veterans Memorial and the Disabled Veterans Monument to Broadway, then spoke, honoring the veterans present. As he thanked the veterans, he spoke about the importance of remembering them and the sacrifices they and their families made, and why it is important to have the memorial and the monument.

Sheriff Brian Estes also spoke, beginning his talk by asking all of the veterans in the audience to stand and be acknowledged.

"If you notice, on our uniform — our Class A uniform — I put a flag on them," he said. "This is to respect and honor you every single day. Without you and your sacrifices, I would not be able to be the sheriff here and protect the rights that you fought for."

Estes said he was "honored and grateful to be with true American heroes."

"Veterans are true American heroes in my opinion," he said. "I take great pride in being the sheriff in a county where we have a rich history of service members both past and present. There are no words that I could use to explain my gratitude to your commitment."

Estes told the crowd that last week, he was at a sheriff's conference and his wife and son were with him. His son presented him with a piece of paper with a prayer. He then asked the audience to pray that prayer with him.

Afterward, Leon Jackson of the Disabled American Veterans spoke.

"Today is the first day that I will not be a husband, a son, an uncle or anything — today, I want to identify with being a veteran," he said. "I want to celebrate that. I want to celebrate my brothers and sisters that are out there right now that have served in the military."

Jackson then introduced his wife, Nancy, who is the DAVA Unit No. 5 commander, who also spoke and did a special reading in honor of Veterans Day.

Nancy Jackson then thanked everyone for coming out in spite of the rain.

"We would not cancel this service," she said. "We'd like to thank all of our veterans for their service to our country. You are honored. You are appreciated, for the part that you played to make this world a better place."

Nancy Jackson's reading was from a letter written by a Marine who was in Beruit in 1983 when the barracks was bombed. She also noted other historical dates included the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Grenada, which also happened in 1983.

Following her talk and reading, several organizations participated in laying wreaths at the base of the flagpoles. Members of DAV Chapter 5, DAVA Unit 5, Marine Corps League 1223, American Legion Posts 347 and 382, VFW Post 5691 and the Daughters of the American Revolution participated.

The program closed with a benediction by Buchanan. Many of the veterans then toured the Disabled Veterans Monument before heading to the American Legion for lunch.

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