11/11/17 — Honoring veterans: Goldsboro and Mount Olive hold Veterans Day parades

View Archive

Honoring veterans: Goldsboro and Mount Olive hold Veterans Day parades

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on November 11, 2017 7:57 PM


"Uncle Sam" represents the Patriot Guard Riders in the annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Goldsboro Saturday.


Some of the adoptable dogs from the Wayne County Animal Shelter wear red, white and blue accessories as the walk in Saturday's parade.


Eastern Wayne Air Force JROTC cadets recite a cadence as they march in the annual Veterans Day Parade.


Twins Baleigh and Audrey Martin, 2, sit on their parents, Stephanie and Mark, shoulders and wave at people going by in the Veterans Day Parade on Center Street Saturday. Mark is stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.


A vintage fire truck from Calypso Fire Department leads a a group of several trucks from their station Saturday during the first Veterans Day Parade in Mount Olive.

Goldsboro has a constant hum of support for its veterans, both retired and active duty.

You can hear it when the sound of "Taps" plays on base every day and spills over into surrounding neighborhoods.

Or when someone thanks a service member for putting themselves' in harm's way.

But on Saturday, the ever-constant hum of support became louder still as throngs of people turned out on Center Street downtown to attend the Veterans Day Parade.

Bands from local high schools played various songs as they marched through the streets.

Airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base marched in formation, leading the way for fire and Explosive Ordnance Disposal trucks as they blared their sirens through the parade.

The day began with a prayer and the playing of the National Anthem -- veterans saluted while citizens placed their hands over their hearts or down by their sides.

Then the parade got underway with the marching of a Color Guard, made up of officers and deputies from Goldsboro Police Department and Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Then the parade's Grand Marshal, Bill Graham, CEO of the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition, followed close behind in a vintage car.

Graham is also a retired Navy Seabee.

Families stood from end to end on Center Street, watching the constant roll of bands, service members, classic cars and local first responders in the parade to honor local veterans.

Mark and Stephanie Martin watched the parade with their two twin girls, Baleigh and Audrey, perched atop their shoulders.

Mark Martin is an active duty service member, and said it is awesome to see the amount of support veterans have in the community.

"Today means respecting all those who stood before us and appreciating what they've done," Mark said.

His wife, Stephanie, also said the community support for veterans is incredible.

"Goldsboro really supports its active and retired veterans," she said. "It makes it easy for us here, both on and off us."

The parade proceeded down Center Street, round the traffic circle at Ash Street, came back down Center Street, turned right on Walnut Street toward James Street before making a left onto James Street, and made a left on Spruce Street to finish back on Center Street.

Col. Christopher Sage, commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, gave a small speech before the start of the parade, recognizing everything veterans have sacrificed that the community gathered to honor Saturday.

"Our service men and women wear their uniform for a time," Sage said. "But they will wear the title of veteran for the rest of their lives."

Mackenzie Hinson, of the Make A Difference Food Pantry, also staged Mount Olive's first-ever Veterans Day parade Saturday.

She said about 25 entries were in the parade, which ran down Center Street past a thin crowd.

Hinson said she thought it was wonderful to be able to give veterans a parade, especially since there had never been one in the past.

She added they plan to do the parade again next year.

"It's awesome," Hinson said.

"We had about 25 entries in today's parade, so it was great."