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High Country Veterans Honored During Thursday Morning’s Ceremony at the Watauga County Veterans Memorial

By Nathan Ham

The High Country came together on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. for a special Veteran’s Day ceremony on King Street to honor the many military members that served and fought for this country. This was the 16th year that the High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America has organized a special Veteran’s Day event, though it normally takes place inside Boone Mall.

Capt. Fred Schmitt of the United States Coast Guard (ret.) welcomed everyone to the ceremony at the Watauga County Veterans Memorial on King Street. The Watauga Community Band played the National Anthem and sounded the chimes on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, a tradition that dates back to when Veteran’s Day was first known as Armistice Day. The day marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. Armistice Day was renamed Veteran’s Day in 1954.

Lt. Col. (ret.) George Brudzinski said he is thankful for the continued community support even during the pandemic.

“The High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association and the Watauga Community Band would like to thank the community for allowing us to present this event today in honor of Veteran’s Day. We would love to be at the Boone Mall as we have done the last 14 years, but due to COVID restrictions, we felt more comfortable having it outdoors,” he said.

At the end of the ceremony, veterans that served in World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were all recognized for their sacrifices overseas.

Capt. Schmitt said that they are hopeful that the Memorial Day tribute will be able to take place at the mall as it has in previous years.