Two services to commemorate holiday
Burke County will be host to two Memorial Day services Monday to honor those who fought and died for our country:
Valdese American Legion Memorial Day service The Valdese American Legion Post No. 234 will hold a Memorial Day service at 9 a.m. Monday in the upstairs ballroom at its facility at 709 Church St. NW in Valdese, according to a flyer advertising the event. The service is free and open to the community.
“It’s important to us that we educate the community about what the day is all about and to remember and honor all those who have died while serving our country,” said Betsy Young, president of the Valdese American Legion Auxiliary.
The service will kick off with a free breakfast of biscuits, fruit and beverages provided by Chick-Fil-A of Morganton and the McDonalds in Valdese. Auxiliary members will serve homemade breakfast treats as well. The post will show a video of veterans from different branches of service speaking about their experiences. Visitors will be invited outside for a special ceremony in which the American flag will be lowered to half-staff as “Taps” is played.
“Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring all those who have died while serving in US armed forces,” Young said. “Every Memorial Day program that we’ve held in the past has always been moving. It’s a great experience to share that together as a community!”
Burke County Memorial Day serviceThe Burke County Memorial Day service will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Monday at the Foothills Higher Education Center at 2128 S. Sterling St. in Morganton, according to Molly Eller, the veterans’ service officer for Burke County, who organizes the event each year with a help of a committee of local veterans. The service is free and open to the public.
Nashville recording artist Josiah Jacobs of Spruce Pine will open the event by singing the National Anthem. Local Boy and Girl Scout troops will lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The featured speaker will be Col. Mike Cloy (ret.), a US Army veteran who lives at the Grace Ridge Retirement Community in Morganton. Cloy served for 27 years as a regular Army commissioned infantry officer, according to his biography. He led and commanded soldiers “at tactical, operational and strategic (levels) in both peace and combat operations.”
“He has been recognized for his leadership by the awarding of three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantryman Badge,” the biography reads. “He graduated from the Army’s premier leadership schools: the US Army Special Forces School, the US Army Ranger School and the US Army War College.”
He currently works for Veteran Services of the Carolinas and volunteers as the mentor coordinator for the Catawba County Veterans Treatment Court.
In addition to Cloy’s remarks, the service will feature a POW/MIA ceremony performed by Al Gurowski, senior vice president and past commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Table Rock Post No. 5362, and Ruth Curfman, historian of the Disabled American Veterans Morganton Chapter No. 43.
Students in the Christ Classical Academy Concert Band will perform a musical salute to veterans. A local veteran will be honored with a patriotic-themed quilt.
Following the service at noon, UNC Health Blue Ridge will provide a free lunch to attendees that will include spaghetti, garlic bread, apple pie and beverages. Veterans’ groups from around the area and agencies and organizations that serve veterans will have informational tables set up for people to peruse before and after the service. Eller will collect worn out American flags to retire and dispose of properly.
“Come join us as we honor veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and even if you cannot attend, take at least 60 seconds to reflect upon why we celebrate Memorial Day,” Eller said. “We as a country, a state, a county, a city, cannot, will not, and shall not forget that freedom is not free. It is priceless, and we reap the benefits of all those who faithfully served in the US military, knowing that there was no guarantee that they would return home alive.”
To learn more about the Valdese American Legion Memorial Day service, contact the post at 828-522-1511 after 1 p.m. daily. To learn more about the Burke County Memorial Day service, contact Molly Eller at 828-439-4376 or email@example.com.