Veterans Day events held across NC

November 11, 2011 10:54:30 AM PST
Gov. Beverly Perdue observed Veterans Day by speaking at a ceremony in front of the World War II memorial on the old Capitol Grounds in downtown Raleigh.

Perdue's speech was among a number of observances across the state Friday.

At NC State University, more than 300 ROTC cadets kicked off their annual Veterans Day ceremony with an early morning mile warrior run around campus.

They returned to the historic Bell Tower for a ceremony honoring those who've given their lives for their country, along with those who are serving in the military now, and those who will be serving.

"I'm actually going to be in broadcasting in the Air Force, I leave for boot camp at the end of this month," Tory Patterson said. "I think it's always important to pause, and reflect on other people that have been in the service, too, and have had the same experiences that we're going to have in the future."

The veterans' celebration continued throughout the day with the annual parade in downtown Raleigh. ABC11's Larry Stogner, a veteran himself, served as the parade's emcee.

In Fayetteville, a ceremony honoring all veterans - part of a 10-day long celebration - was held at the North Carolina Veterans Park.

The ceremony was about honoring heroes like retired soldier Raymond Schrump. He spent 1727 days - nearly five years - as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

On Friday, he re-dedicated the monument that bares his name. He is one of the lucky three men of 19 on the plaque that made it home alive.

"Well, what I learned from my mom and dad and minister and school teachers that was my faith in God, faith in my country and faith in my fellow man," Schrump said.

Veteran Gary Brown of Cary said he fought back tears Friday remembering how he was treated when he returned from Vietnam.

"It was weird," he said. "I mean the whole country was protesting and everything. Girls were flipping us off at the main gate at the Army post at Fort Mammoth. It was just a really tough time. This is great what this city is doing."

"I think the city has really done a wonderful job and various organizations within the city have just gone out," Vietnam veteran Tom Sisk added. "I'm sure the term overdue has been used several times."

On Friday night, singer Darius Rucker will headline a Salute to the Troops at the Crown Coliseum.

On Saturday, the state will honor about a dozen war veterans who left high school to serve on battlefields by giving them special honorary diplomas at a ceremony at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.

The state Division of Veterans Affairs and educators have given the diplomas to more than 430 service members since 2001.

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