There are almost as many ways to celebrate Veterans Day in Robeson County as there are veterans.
At Biggs Park Mall in Lumberton, free lunches are served.
Fairmont invites speakers.
In Pembroke, bands, Boy Scouts and beauty queens march down the main thoroughfare.
Maxton hosts exhibits.
For Henry Caulder, a Marine who served in Vietnam, it is truly those thoughts that count.
“The veterans deserve it, they fought for our freedom and freedom doesn’t come easy,” said Caulder, who lives in Lumberton.
According to Caulder, Robeson County does a great job of honoring the veterans every year.
“I just wish that there were more public participation and leaders getting involved and attending the events,” he said.
Caulder, who is the commander of the Lumberton Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, said his veterans group will hold a celebration of his own to recognize vets.
The chapter is planning a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday in the garden behind the Robeson County Public Library in Lumberton. There will be a folding of the U.S. flag, placing of the colors and a speaker. The oldest veteran to attend the event will be honored with a flag.
It is one of a myriad of celebrations across the county planned to show those who served in the armed forces what that sacrifice has meant.
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on Nov. 11, 1918. Congress eventually struck out the word “armistice” and inserted the word “veterans.” On June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Most of the local events are on Monday, but some like the one Saturday at Biggs Park Mall were held ahead of the holiday. Those who attended were given a free meal and special discounts at stores in the mall.
This is the first year the event has been held. Mall manager Chelsea Biggs hopes to make it a tradition.
“We show our appreciation because they risked their lives to serve our country,” Biggs said. “We want to thank all veterans for their service and want them to know that they are appreciated.”
Biggs has a personal reason for thanking veterans.
“I got my patriotism from my mother, whose grandfather served in the Korean War and great-grandfather served in the Civil War,” Biggs said.
Today, Antioch Baptist Church will hold a Veterans Day service at 11 a.m during which 45 veterans will be recognized. The church is located at 2341 Fire Tower Road in Proctorville.
Saint Paul AME Church also holds its Veterans Day program today at 11 a.m. The speaker will be the Rev. Bobby Bethea and a dinner will be served. The church is located at 3169 Oakdale Church Road in Fairmont.
New Beginning Church of Lumberton will also hold a Veterans Day ceremony at 10 a.m. today. Special recognition of Veterans and their families will be highlighted with prayer and certificates. The church is located at 950 Linkhaw Road in Lumberton.
The Rep. Garland E. Pierce is inviting all veterans and active duty personnel to a Veterans Day Program today at Center Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Red Springs. The church will provide food for the veterans at 1 p.m. and begin the program at 3 p.m. The church is located at 511 Center Grove Church Road in Red Springs.
On Monday, the day officially recognized as the holiday to honor veterans, Rep. Pierce and Sheriff Shep Jones are inviting all veterans and active duty personnel of Scotland, Hoke, Richmond, Robeson and surrounding counties to celebrate Veterans and Military Appreciation Day with them at 8 a.m. with a free breakfast at Bright Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in the Fellowship Hall located at 601 N. Main St. in Laurinburg.
Pierce will be the keynote speaker at 11 a.m. along with Congressman Richard Hudson and other dignitaries attending the ceremony at the Legion Park in Laurinburg. The Laurinburg Police Department will be in attendance and the ceremony will include a 21-gun salute. Pierce will meet and greet the veterans and active duty personnel from 4 to 9 p.m. for a free dinner sponsored by the Golden Corral Restaurant in Laurinburg.
Fairmont will play host to another Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday at Fairmont Heritage Center. The speaker will be Julie Sawyer, a physical therapist for Southeastern Health and retired Air Force vet.
Also on Monday, the Maxton North Carolina Legion Post 117 will hold its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Maxton Historical Society building, at the corner of North Florence and West Graham streets.
“We need to honor all of the vets from all of the armed forces — dead or alive,” said Cal Humbert, a member of the Maxton North Carolina Legion.
A special display will be set up in the Maxton Historical Society building by brothers Howard and Richard Cross.
“The display will represent various services,” said Humbert, who served on active Army duty from 1959 to 1961. “It will have scenes, models, photographs and written entries.”
In Lumberton, the Golden Corral will pack in veterans for its annual free buffet dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. on Monday.
Pembroke will hold its annual Veterans Day parade with a lineup beginning at 9 a.m. at the Pembroke Elementary. The parade starts at 10.
Greg Cummings, a Vietnam veteran and organizer of the Pembroke parade, said the town has one of the oldest Veterans Day parades in North Carolina. This year’s parade will have more than 60 entries, including high school R.O.T.C members, pageant queens and kings, community veterans and bands.
There will also be a ceremony honoring the vets at the town park at 11 a.m. The Pembroke Veterans of Foreign Wars will hold its annual plate sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Union Chapel Road.
“This country really needs to understand that if it were not for the veterans and military, this country would not have freedom,” Cummings said. “People should attend these events to show respect and honor those who have given us freedom.”
But the celebration does not end on Monday.
On Thursday, a Career and Resource Fair featuring 35 businesses and industries will be held in the National Guard Armory at 1520 S. Main St., Laurinburg. Veterans will have priority time from 9 to 10 a.m. and the general public will be allowed access from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Job seekers should be prepared to fill out applications on site. For information, call 910-276-4260.