The city of Fayetteville marked Memorial Day with a ceremony in Freedom Memorial Park on Monday. Organizer and former city councilman Don Talbot estimated 650 people attended the service.
The special guest speaker was Brigadier General Brian J. McKiernan, Deputy Commanding General of the 82d Airborne Division.
"We honor those men and women who left a legacy purchased by their blood and sacrifice, and I ask you to remember all those families who were left behind," McKiernan said to the crowd. "There is a son or a daughter who will never see their mom or dad again. There is a man or woman who has forever lost the warmth of their spouses loving embrace. There is a parent who will never be able to impart their child with sound wisdom again."
During the ceremony five wreaths were placed at memorial monuments in the park – one each at the World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the All Services Dedication Monument.
Members of Rolling Thunder also presented the "missing man table." It features a table that's arranged with a place settings and empty chairs. It is a symbolic tribute to members of the armed forces and civilians who have served the United States and not made it home, such as POWs and MIAs.
Fayetteville has hosted a Memorial Day ceremony since 1998, Talbot said. The ceremony moved to Freedom Park in 2005.
"I wanted to come just to remember the ones that have sacrificed and worked for our country," said Mary Cole of Fayetteville. "I think it's important because we should never forget those that have sacrificed their lives for us."
Across the street from the park, the Airborne and Special Operations Museum has also seen big crowds for Memorial Day. The parking lot could not hold all the cars of visitors, so some were parked down the street and in other nearby lots.
The museum has war re-enactors in period uniforms with vintage gear. The Army's Golden Knights were also at the museum to greet visitors.
The North Carolina Field of Honor was also still on display Monday. It will be open until June 29.
"To me it is an honor," said veteran and museum visitor Jerry Boeshore. "Just to see out there and see that, it makes me feel good because I was in the military, and I know these people here are not forgotten."
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.More>>
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Question, comment or news tip? The WNCN main desk is happy to take your call and direct you to the appropriate department. Our station phone number is:919-836-1717 Our address is:1205 Front St. Raleigh, N.C.