Sunday will mark another special day set aside to honor our veterans. The annual Sampson County Veteran’s Day Celebration will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Agri-Exposition Center. The time change is because of Veteran’s Day being on Sunday and many people will be attending church at the customary 11 a.m. hour.
Veteran’s Day is an official United States holiday honoring armed service veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on Nov. 11. The day of celebration of our veterans is similar to other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. The date coincides with the time when major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.
It should be noted that Veteran’s Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veteran’s Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.
“We are excited about this year’s program to honor the veterans,” shared Sampson County Veteran Service Officer, Ann Knowles. “We cannot do enough to honor the men and women who have served our country.”
Knowles explained that the program will feature a variety of guests, elected officials, chamber representatives, the Veterans Council and especially veterans. She stressed the importance of remembering our veterans, as every war that has been fought “has been fought for our freedom.”
“J.W. Simmons is serving as our master of ceremonies again this year and the program will not only be patriotic but inspiration,” asserted Knowles.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Brigadier General (Ret.) W. Ray Johnson.U.S. Army Veteran, Robbie Thompson and Mary Kaydon Thompson will both provide special music for the event. As is the custom, there will be a POW presentation that will be made by SFC (Ret.) Tex Howard, Judge Advocate of the Sampson County Veterans Council. The program would not be complete without Walter Bryant concluding the ceremony with the playing of “Taps.”
Knowles reiterated her dismay at how the holiday has become one of the largest sale day for retails businesses without honoring the ones it should. “Veterans Day should be a day of celebration not of having a big sale and shopping,” she said. “We should be having parades and celebrations to remember the sacrifices that have been made for us to maintain our freedoms we hold so dear.”
The veteran advocate went on to say that not only the veterans but their families, who have served right beside their love one as they left home to go fight.
“We forget those who fought in WWII and lost the childhood of their children as they left some before their child was born to go fight in the war. And when they returned they had children three or four years old that did not even know their daddy,” remarked Knowles.
A reception will follow sponsored by the Sampson County Veterans Service Office and the Sampson County Veterans Council honoring Sampson County Veterans in Heritage Hall.
“May we always remember our freedom is not free; it was paid by someone’s son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, brother or sister,” stressed Knowles. “May we never forget.”