This year, we celebrate Veterans Day on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I, on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918. President John F. Kennedy once said, "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." The historical purpose of Veterans Day is to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
On this Veterans Day, we give thanks for the 28 million living veterans and 57 million family members and survivors of those veterans who strengthen our nation with their example of our nation’s service and sacrifice. Our veterans are drawn from many generations and from many backgrounds. We honor these American patriots for their valor, their loyalty, and their dedication to service.
Since the birth of our great nation in 1776, we salute the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have rendered the highest service any American can offer by contributing to the character and to the greatness of American freedom. Today, almost one in every three Americans is either a veteran or a member of a veteran's family.
According to the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, this Veterans Day, we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of World War I, in remembrance and to honor the heroism and sacrifice of the more than 4.7 million American sons and daughters who served in the Great War. Of these, 116,516 service members died from combat and disease. Another 200,000 were wounded, a casualty rate far greater than in World War II. And, more than 3,000 are still missing and unaccounted for today. World War I remains America’s forgotten war, even though more Americans gave their lives during the Great War than during Korea and Vietnam combined, and this war profoundly shaped the rest of “the American century.”
North Carolina sent over 60,000 men and women to serve in the Great War through three training camps: Camp Greene near Charlotte, Camp Bragg near Fayetteville, and Camp Polk near Raleigh. Women joined the American Red Cross, the YMCA, the Salvation Army, and served as nurses in military hospitals at home and in France. Of these, 1,771 service members died in combat from North Carolina according to the Gold Star Casualty list. Of these, 17 service members died in combat from Cumberland County. Today, we remember and honor these local American heroes:
Benjamin W. Brady, Rank: Mechanic, U.S. Army, Hope Mills
George W. Brown, Rank: Corporal, U.S. Army, Hope Mills
Thomas Macon Bulla, Rank: Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
Nathan Byrd, Rank: Cook, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
Rone L. Coffey, Rank: Private, U.S. Army, Hope Mills
William W. Grantham, Rank: Private, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
Henry H. Hall, Rank: Private, U.S. Army, Hope Mills
Thomas L. Hall, Rank: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
Thomas H. Kirkpatrick, Rank: Private, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
William Mason, Rank: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
William McLaurin, Rank: Mechanic, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
John D. McPhail, Rank: Corporal, U.S. Army, Hope Mills
Robert Porcelli, Rank: Bugler, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
Archie C. Rasberry, Rank: Corporal, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
Walter West, Rank: Mechanic, U.S. Army, Fayetteville
Walter West, Rank: Private, U.S. Army, Hope Mills
Rogers Williams, Rank: Private, U.S. Army, Wade
VFW Post 10630 would like to invite any family members of these World War I American heroes to attend the Veterans Day Ceremony, with the release of Balloon Doves, on November 11, 2018 (Sunday), starting at 3 pm, at the Hope Mills Veterans Memorial Park near the recreation center on Rockfish Road. If you wish to present a “wreath” in remembrance and to honor our nation’s veterans during the Veterans Day Ceremony, please contact Mr. Bill Greene, Quartermaster, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we raise our flag and as the bugle sounds taps, we remember that the men and women of America’s Armed Forces serve a great cause. They follow in a great tradition, handed down to them by America’s veterans. What veterans have given our country is beyond our power to fully repay, yet, today we recognize our debt to their honor. And on this national holiday, our hearts are filled with respect and gratitude for the veterans of the United States of America.
May God bless our veterans and their families, and may God continue to bless our great nation.
Jessie Bellflowers is a past Veterans of Foreign Wars All-American/Triple Crown state commander for North Carolina and he is a member of the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners.