ROCKINGHAM – “America the free” is a moniker our country has received throughout its historical battles, but not without sacrifice and the “home of the brave.”
Veterans Day was first recognized 1919 to honor the one year anniversary of the end of the World War I. Later, in 1938, November 11 was declared a national holiday as an opportunity to show gratitude and respect to the courageous men and women who have served to defend our great nation and our freedom.
And on Saturday, Richmond County hosted for the second consecutive year a Veterans Day parade to show its gratitude and thanks.
At 3 p.m., the opening ceremony began at the Richmond County courthouse and opened with the JROTC Raider Battalion color guard presenting the colors. Charity Davis then sung the national anthem.
Dr. Mark Harris, who is running for congressmen, gave the invocation thanking God for, “the men and women who serve and have served.”
Kenneth Robinette followed as the key speaker. Robinette is a business leader within Richmond County, and began serving as a county commissioner in 1996, was elected as vice chairman in 1997, and became chairman in 1998 where he has been serving the county ever since.
Robinette’s speech thanked all veterans, of which Richmond County is home to over 7,500. He stated that veterans have made a, “tremendous sacrifice and many sacrificed all.”
“All veterans seem to share an innate desire to serve long until the uniforms have been put away for the last time and discharge papers have been signed,” Robinette continued.
Robinette explained that Richmond County is indebted to all veterans and that, “without the courage and sacrifices made by veterans to conserve our freedom, America would not be America.”
It was toward the end of his speech that Robinette called forth Robin Roberts, general manager of Hudson Brothers’ Deli and long-time supporter of the Veterans in Richmond County. Robinette explained that it is because of a call that he received from Roberts three years ago that the parade and all other functions that were held in honor of the Veterans were possible.
He then presented a resolution to Roberts which ended with the final two resolutions:
“Now therefore is be resolved that the Richmond County Board of Commissioners does hereby recognize Nov, 11, 2017, as a holiday in observance of Veterans Day in Richmond County.
“Now hereby it be further resolved that the Richmond County Board of Commissioners call upon the citizens to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies in honor of our veterans both living and deceased who have served this country so willingly to preserve the presence of justice, freedoms of democracy, to fly the flag and to let our veterans know how much we appreciate their great job and their sacrifice.”
To signal the beginning of the parade, the Honor Guard offered a 21-gun salute, followed by a rendition of taps by Marching Raider Cameron McDonald.
As the parade began, citizens of Richmond County wrapped all around downtown Rockingham, flooding the sidewalks from the courthouse, to the library and back up to the downtown square. All the while, many veterans, schools and clubs that support the veterans, drove past in multiple types of transport. Those in the crowds waved American flags and shouted praise for those who served.
In a time when the country needs unification more than ever, Saturday’s parade was a much-needed ceremony in which the county came together in support of those who fought their way to freedom.