Newsoms salutes veteransPublished 9:43am Wednesday, May 29, 2013
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
NEWSOMS—On Sunday afternoon at Hollywood Cemetery in Newsoms, many residents gathered to remember veterans past and present.
“This is sacred ground,” E. Beale Carter Jr. said to the audience at the ceremony’s beginning. He is chairman of the cemetery’s Board of Trustees.
Speaker for the occasion was Naval Lt. John Johnson, who lives with his family in Southampton County. He’s a commissioned officer stationed at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach.
Johnson recounted the United States’ earliest military history, acknowledging the many wars the country has seen, including the American Civil War in the 1860s. He said an estimated 625,000 died in that struggle that almost tore the country completely apart.
“Thank God we did unite and survive,” Johnson said, adding that Decoration Day was formed soon after the war’s end to honor Union and Confederate dead. Later, this became Memorial Day.
“There are 1.4 million active duty personnel who enjoy relatively peaceful service, and we owe a great deal of gratitude.”
On meeting a World War II veteran once, Johnson was told in front of the man, “This is one of our local heroes.” To which came the reply, “I’m no hero. I was just doing what every one else was doing.”
“We are a great nation and do remember the cost,” Johnson said. “We enjoy liberties and freedoms that compare to no others.”
He asked those guests present to at least pause for a moment on Monday and remember the 1,321,617 men and who gave their lives in the nation’s history.
“Thank God to have the fortune to live in a great and wonderful nation,” Johnson concluded.
As part of the day’s ceremony, the Rev. Jason Wise of Newsoms Baptist Church gave the invocation and benediction. Michelle Wise sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” and Linda Tomlin Drake led in the singing of a medley of patriotic songs.
Blaine Britt performed patriotic selections, including “Taps” on the trumpet.