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04-25-12-31-day-salute-logo.jpgAs the First Sanctuary for Soldiers, Fayetteville/Cumberland County relishes the opportunity to celebrate soldiers, vets and their families. The month of May is chock-full of events, bargains and exhibits as the community rallies to lift up the men and women of the armed services and their families.

The month opens with the Fort Bragg Fair, which runs through May 3. There is live entertainment every day. Admission includes unlimited rides.

Local exhibits include The Animal Call POW: U.S. Special Forces Prisoners of the Vietcong. This exhibit opened in February and will run through January of 2013. It features U.S. Army Special Forces and men who served in the Military Assistance Command-Vietnam prisoners of war.

Treasure rescued from Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge is on display at the Museum of the Cape Fear through the end of the month. Visitors can expect to see iron shot for cannon small caliber lead shot for firearms, a grinding stone used for sharpening tools and weapons and a small piece of gold. The ship, which was formerly known as La Concorde and used as a slave ship, ran aground in what is now Beaufort Inlet in 1718.

Children are invited to make Blue Star flags at Fascinate-U Children’s Museum. All military families get in for half price and the families of deployed soldiers get in free through the entire month of May.

The Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum commemorates the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the exhibit Fayetteville and Cumberland County in the War of 1812. Learn the local military, political and social history of the early 1800s.

Don’t miss the Fayetteville Duck Derby at Campbellton Landing on May 5. Thousands of ducks race down the Cape Fear River to support Fayetteville Urban Ministry and other non-profits. Several prizes will be given away.

Visit Headquarters Library on May 8 and join N.C. author Sarah Shaber for a discussion of Louise’s War. The novel is set in Washington, D.C., in 1942 and offers murder, intrigue and suspense.

The U.S. Army Soldier Show comes to town on May 11-12. This 90 minutes musical production is held at the Crown Coliseum and is free and open to the public. The performers are active-duty soldiers who spend six months touring with the show.

Spring Lake Spring Fling Movie in the Park on May 11 is offered in conjunction with Operation Ceasefire. Bring a blanket and a chair and enjoy the show. The movie is free and open to the public

Join the 2nd Annual Ride for the Warriors on May 12. Proceeds benefit Helping Hands for Heroes. Registration is $15 per single rider, $20 with a passenger. The ride starts at 8:30 a.m.

Join re-enactors at the Museum of the Cape Fear for Military Through the Ages: A March Through History on May 19. Re-enactors will portray different historic periods in military history. Learn about the different uniforms, weapons and customs.

Also on May 19, Ride to Honor hosted by The Army’s Army, features 34- and 61-mile bike rides. It costs $35 and starts at Mendoza Park. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Find out more about the events at 31daysalute.com.

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