By Tim Gardner
On Monday, May 28, 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 2:00 p.m. and honors Avery County natives or residents who perished while fighting for our great nation in a military battle.
It is organized and conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary, Pat Ray Post 4286, in Newland.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. 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 and place an American flag on each grave—especially in national cemeteries.
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans 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.
The Avery County Memorial Day program 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. The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be United States Congressional Representative Virginia Foxx. And the guest speaker will be John Millan, a retired U.S. Army veteran.
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 by: Colonel Sam Ray for Veterans of Foreign Wars; Commander David Burnop for Disabled American Veterans; and Nancy Morrison for the Crossnore Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
The ensuing Rifle Salute will be done by the Pat Ray Post 4286 Honor Guard, followed by “Taps.” Honor Guard Chaplain Fred Stout will then provide the Benediction ahead of the Retrieving of Colors by the Avery High JROTC to conclude the program.
All Avery County residents and any others desiring to attend the ceremony are encouraged to do so.