War was raging overseas when Fort Bragg was established in 1918. It was at Compiégne, France, that the armistice was signed; the armistice that called for the cessation of hostilities on the western front. The agreement took effect at 11 a.m., on the 11th day of the 11th month — Nov. 11. The Allies and the Germans stopped fighting and the war started winding down. Many of the Allied nations, including the United States, declared this day a holiday in remembrance of soldiers killed in the war to end all wars.
After World War II, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a time to honor and thank everyone who has served in the military. It’s different from Memorial Day. Memorial Day honors those who died in service to our country. Veteran’s Day is to thank and honor all of the service members who have served honorably — during war and peace times.
Instead of taking just one day to honor veterans, Fayetteville is going all out and has an entire weekend of celebrations planned.
On Friday, Nov. 9, the Airborne & Special Operations Museum is set to host a book signing. The Making of Our Warrior by Jeff Falkel tells the story of Chris Falkel through his father’s eyes. Chris was a Green Beret during Operation Enduring Freedom. He saved the lives of 16 Afghan National Army Soldiers as well as the lives of several in his detachment. The younger Falkel was awarded the Silver Star Medal (posthumously). His father, Jeff, shares the stories of his son’s unit, the men of Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 316. The book signing is at 4 p.m.
Afterwards, at 5:30 p.m., don’t miss the flag dedication ceremony and paver unveiling. The ceremony is to honor Medal of Honor recipients and those killed in action. There will also be a ceremony to honor Spec. Carl D. Hall III who was killed in action. Hall was a member of the 325 Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. A paver stone in his honor will be installed in front of the Iron Mike Statue on the museum grounds.
On Saturday, the festivities start at 9 a.m. at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum with a car show. Prizes will be awarded in several categories and there is no fee to enter. At 10 a.m., join your fellow citizens in honoring our country’s veterans at the Veterans Day Parade. The parade is sponsored by the Cumberland County Veterans Council.
George Breece and Kirk DeViere organized the parade this year, and they are excited about what is in store for the community.
“We have a great parade planned,” said Breece. “This year is the biggest Veterans Day parade we’ve had. We’ve put together a first-class parade, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone downtown on Saturday, Nov. 10.”
The parade includes 21 military units, including vehicles and equipment. Local units include the XVIII Airborne Corps, the 82nd Airborne Division, the U.S. Army Reserve Command, the 440th Airlift Wing and the 43rd Airlift Group. All five of the branches of the service are represented in the parade as well: the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
More than 25 chartered veteran’s organizations will march in the parade, and 11 local ROTC units are scheduled to participate.
“We will have a U.S. Air Force flyover during the parade,” said Breece. “A C-130 will fly over when the Air Force marches by the grand stand.”
While this isn’t Breece’s first rodeo, or parade so to speak — he’s played a part in planning the local Christmas parade for years and more recently worked on the parade celebrating Fayetteville’s 250th — this parade holds a special place in his heart.
“This parade brings our community together. It shows our love of the military and our veterans. When the world dials 911, the phone is answered here in our community. No community in America has greater love and respect for military and veterans than does the greater Fayetteville area. This parade brings our community together in one voice to say ‘Thank you,’ to our veterans,” said Breece. “This parade is to honor, welcome home and thank all of our nation’s vets who served in Iraq.”
The Grand Marshal of the event is Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg.
“It will be crowded and there will be a lot of noise,” said Breece. “We are expecting a large crowd, so we are asking that people leave their pets at home — for the safety of the animals.”
While an event this size is a huge undertaking involving a lot of teamwork, Breece anticipates a topnotch event, thanks to the many people and organizations that helped plan and organize the parade.
“I can’t say enough about the support we received from the Cumberland County Veterans Council, from the Fayetteville/Cumberland Parks and Recreation and Erica Brady with Parks and Recreation and the City of Fayetteville and former Parade Chair Don Talbot, who has helped Kirk and me along the way.”
The parade starts at 10 a.m. at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, goes down Hay Street, around the Market House and ends at Liberty Point. Find out more about this and other Veterans Day activities at www.heroeshomecoming.com.
The North Carolina Veterans Park is hosting an opening ceremony at 12:30 p.m., followed by family day. Not only is it the perfect opportunity to visit the park and learn the heritage of North Carolina’s veterans and their humble service, it is a time to enjoy the family and be thankful for the sacrifi ces of those who have served. There will be local veteran’s organizations on hand to share information. Kids can enjoy the games and family-friendly activities while adults take in the music and displays. There will also be live music through out the afternoon.
Sunday rounds out the event-fi lled weekend with a POW/MIA vigil at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. Starting at noon, the Airborne & Special Operations Foundation, Rolling Thunder and service members will guard the POW/MIA table at the ASOM.
Find out more about the Veterans Day Parade at www. ccveteranscouncil.org and other Veterans Day celebrations at www.heroeshomecoming.com.