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Not too many places can beat Fayetteville when it comes to celebratingpatriotism. Unfortunately, we are right up there when it comes to sacrifi cein the name of duty, honor and country, too. Our community is fi lled withthe proud, selfl ess soldierswho serve and their families who serve just as proudly andselfl essly. The widows, orphansand families of those who havegiven their fi nal measure standfi rmly in our midst — manycontinuing to give as theyvolunteer, advocate, heal andembrace the military lifestylethat permeates the community.

As Memorial Day drawsnear, the community ispreparing their grand fi naleof 31Days of Glory whichhas honored those who havedied while in military service.Memorial Day weekend ispacked with activities that willremind us of the price that hasbeen paid for our freedoms, but also with eventsthat are aimed at helping us enjoy those freedomsand a showing appreciation to the heroes andfamilies that walk among us, and mean so much tothis community everyday.

The Field of Glory will fl y not just onMemorial Day, but through the end of June at theAirborne and Special Operations Museum. Eachof the hundreds of fl ags has been dedicated to asoldier.

On May 28, the Pilot Club of Fayetteville ishonoring military heroes past and present withthe lighting of luminaries at the Airborne andSpecial Operations Museum from 8-10 p.m. Eachluminary will be lit in honor of a service member.A list of the honorees will be available on theevening of the event. To honor your soldier in thisceremony, contact the Pilot Club at 850-7433.

Sunday evening, May 30, the DowntownAlliance is hosting a movie and a picnic in the park — Festival Park.

“Last year it was bigger and better than the year before,” said ChrisVilla the marketing chairperson. “We expect it to be that way again thisyear.” With a crowd of about 200 or so last year, the park should be full offolks coming to watch the award winning feature — The Blind Side starringSandra Bullock.

The park opens at about 6:30, but the movie wont be shown until itgets dark. Villa encourages folks to bring apicnic and a ball or frisbee to toss around.There will be food vendors there too if you’drather buy your dinner or snacks for themovie. She promises that the atmosphereis fun and family friendly, so go ahead andbring the kids.

“We all hang out and chit chat andwander around and play and whatever,”said Villa. “They can bring frisbees, balls orwhatever and just hang out in the park. It isa fun time and I think we should be in forreally good weather this year.”

Don’t stay out too late though, Mondayis packed with things to do and the fun startsearly! The pancake breakfast is back and itstarts at 7 a.m. It costs $5 a plate and willlast until 11 a.m.

If you time it right,you can come downtownfor breakfast and headright on over to theMemorial Day festivities.“It is a full day and weare really excited aboutit,” said Villa. “I wasable to secure general AlAycock. He is going tobe out there to do ourkick off.”

At 8 a.m. thePatriot’s Criterium,hosted by the CrossCreek Cycling Club, willtake place on Hay Street.

“Patriot’s Crit is likeNASCAR on bicycles,”said Villa. “It is bikeraces. It is a lot of fun.It goes really quickly, too.”

Check out www.CrossCreekCyclingClub.org if you are interested inparticipating.

A new event this year called “A Walk in Their Boots” takes place at9 a.m. “You can come down and walk in your dad’s boots, your mom’sboots, your own boots, your boyfriend’s, your husband’s — whatever —and we are walking from the Festival Park Promenade at 9:15 a.m. over tothe 10 o’clock ceremony at Veterans Park.”

The ceremony will pay tribute to veterans past and present. There willbe a guest speaker along with other events like the posting of the colors, atoast to the fl ag, wreath presentations and patriotic music.

Back at Festival Park, the activities range from static displays ofmilitary equipment from different times in history complete with militaryre-enactors to bouncy houses and more.

An old favorite, the Classic Car Cruise, will showcase cars (pre 1989)from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Ray Avenue and Maiden Lane. It’s free, too.

The stage will be rockin’ through out the day with a variety of musicaltalent. In One Accord, Fayetteville Symphony Brass Quintet, KennyHuffman, The Robbie Reid Band and The Stephenson Brothers and Lindaare scheduled to perform.

To find out more visitwww.glorydaysnc.com or31daysofglory.com.

Photo caption:  Fields Of Glory shown at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. 

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