By Jesse Wood
The High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America sponsored its annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Boone Mall on Friday.
The 10th annual event is held at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month to honor veterans of the U.S Armed Forces. The timing coincides with the Armistice with Germany, the agreement between Allies and Germany to cease fighting in World War I, that went into effect overseas at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
Friday’s program featured patriotic music by Watauga Community Band and remarks from Capt. Fred Schmitt, USCG (Ret.); CAPT James R. Fisher, CHC, USN (Ret.); Col Ben Covington, USA (Ret.); and Keith Buchanan, CPA, Author and WWII storyteller. The Watauga High School MCJROTC posted and retired the colors.
Present government officials included U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, N.C. Sen. Deanna Ballard, N.C. Rep. Jonathan Jordan, Watauga County Commissioners Jimmy Hodges and Perry Yates, 24th District Court Judge Becca-Eggers Gryder, Watauga Sheriff Len Hagaman and Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz.
Col. Covington spoke about the Watauga County Veterans Memorial project that is going to be built in downtown Boone, directly beside Town Hall. Covington said that a statewide competition for the project’s design will be held for the memorial in downtown Boone, which is slated to be complete in the summer of 2018.
The HCCMOAA raised more than $10,000 in donations before the Watauga County Board of Commissioners agreed to set aside $25,000 for the project. The Town of Boone set aside the site for the project.
“We appreciate all of the support they’ve done,” Covington said at the mall on Friday.
The HCCMOAA project is a joint venture between the Town of Boone, Watuaga County, area veterans organizations, local businesses and Appalachian State University.
The purpose of the site is to establish a memorial that will honor honor veterans from all wars and conflicts and remind citizens of the “sacrifices made by brave men and women who have protected our freedoms, and will be a place of reflection and celebration of our national spirit, pride and heritage,” according to a flyer about the future memorial.
Fundraising will continue through December 2017. Groundbreaking should begin in spring 2018. The statewide design competition will commenc by Dec. 1, 2016. To find out about the competition, email or call Lindsay Miller at [email protected] and 828-262-7544.
Donations can be made online or sent to:
Watauga County Veterans’ Memorial Fund c/o High Country MOAA P O Box 3312 Boone, NC 28607.
Learn more at http://www.hccmoaa.org/ or facebook.com/HCCMOAA for more information.