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Avery County Memorial Day Ceremony to Be Held in Honor of Slain Veterans

By Tim Gardner

On Monday, May 27th, Avery County will hold its annual Memorial Day celebration between its Veterans Monument and Gardens and the Fallen Officers, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Ten Commandments monuments on the Newland Town Square.  The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. and honors Avery natives or residents who perished while fighting for our great nation in a military battle. 

Everyone is invited to attend the ceremony. 

It is organized and conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary, Pat Ray Post 4286, in Newland and the County of Avery.

In case of heavy rain, the ceremony will be held in the rock gym, which is located at Newland Elementary School.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forced. The holiday was held on May 30 from 1868 to 1970. The holiday has since been observed every year on the last Monday of May. It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many decorate graves with flowers and military insignia and also place an American flag on each grave—especially in national cemeteries. 

Memorial Day should not be confused with Veterans Day or Armed Forces day—Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans and Armed Forces Day honors those active or who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Avery County Memorial Day program will be emceed by Phillip Greene of Newland’s WECR Radio Station, and will start with an invocation from Reverend Larry Dale Stamey, a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam Conflict. 

Next will be a Posting of Colors by the Avery High School JROTC, followed by the National Anthem sang by Tara Andrews and the Avery High School Chorus. 

The program’s opening remarks will be made by Kevin Holden, Newland VFW Post Commander and Retired U.S. Army Sergeant. The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be the United States Congressional Representation Virginia Foxx. And the guest speaker will be Michael Hardy, a local historian.

Other patriotic music will be supplied by Dee Raby and the Avery High School Band. 

The Presentation of Wreaths honoring the county’s departed comrades will be conducted for: Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and the Crossnore Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Greene will then dismiss the ceremony.

Holden said he and others organizing the ceremony offer a “Thank you to all Veterans, VFW Members, The Post Auxiliary, Avery High JROTC, Band and Chorus, DAV, DAR  the Town of Newland, the County of Avery, the Avery Journal-Times, the Avery Recreation Dept. and all others who help make this program a success.”