11/01/04 — Warsaw gets ready for Veterans Day activities

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Warsaw gets ready for Veterans Day activities

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 1, 2004 1:59 PM

WARSAW -- Elree T. Smith, commander of State Veterans Council and a past state commander of the VFW, will be the main speaker at the memorial service Saturday morning for Warsaw's Veterans Day celebration.

Smith, sergeant first class, is a retired Green Beret with 18 medals, awards and decorations that were presented during his service tours in Europe, Korea and Vietnam.

The memorial service will begin at 10 a.m. by the monument in Veterans Park and will be conducted by the Warsaw VFW Post 9810. After the memorial service, a wreath will be laid at the monument by Lori Costin.

Public parking will be at the back of Veterans Park. Dogs will not be allowed.

Master of ceremonies Pat Mathis will appear at the reviewing stand at 11 a.m. to welcome all attending the event.

Among 40 dignitaries attending will be Gen. Dan MacNeill of Warsaw, who was commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and Col. James N. Flowers, commanding officer of the Marine Corps of Engineering School, representing Camp Lejeune's base commander.

Noelle Tucker will sing "The Star Spangled Banner."

Grand marshals during the parade will be Medal of Honor recipients 2nd Lt. Walter J. "Joe" Marm Jr., Cpl. Rodolfo Hernandez, Sgt. Robert Patterson and Lt. Col. Gordon R. Roberts.

The four marshals will lead the parade of military units, high school bands, JROTC, Scouts, homemade floats, clowns, Keystone Kops, Hillbillies, mini-rigs and many more entries. Other entries scheduled include the Wilmington chapter of Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle organization that was started in 1980 by two U.S. Army sergeants who were Vietnam veterans.

At noon, or as soon as the parade ends, a barbecue lunch will be served at the fire station on Bay Street and at the American Legion Post 227 at 421 S. Center St.

The L.P. Best House, home of the Duplin County Veterans' Museum at 119 E. Hill St., will open at 1 p.m. and remain open until 5 p.m. for tours, visits and entertainment.

At 2 p.m. at the museum, the 82nd Airborne Division's All American Chorus will provide music for all as a reception is held to honor and meet the four Medal of Honor recipients and other distinguished guests and visitors.

At 2:30 p.m., the Medal of Honor recipients will autograph their individual stories in the book "Medal of Honor" for those who purchase the book. They will be glad to talk with the audience as well. The book "Medal of Honor" has gained national attention since being on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Cathy Belmonte of the Wayne County Museum in Goldsboro will have on display a slab taken from the Pentagon ruins after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

The Veterans Day Dance and Concert will begin at 8 p.m. at the Warsaw VFW Post at 364 Bruce Costin Road. Tickets will be $5 per person and will be sold only at the door, which will open at 7 p.m. The band, Two's Company, is from Wilmington and plays a variety of music and is a favorite of all ages.

There will be no smoking or brown-bagging inside the building.