In a community surrounded by the military, a salute to veterans may not be unusual. But this dinner hosted and sponsored by the Havelock Chamber of Commerce and community businesses who are also members was significant in showing love, appreciation, and respect to fallen veterans, serving military, their families, retired and discharged members of all branches. Almost 50 tables, 5 cakes, a flag depicting each branch, music played by the Marine Brass Quintet, taps, and much more generated a presence of more than 300 attendees, sitting in an illuminated Visitor’s Center on an otherwise quiet Tuesday evening.
Starting with an introduction by Major General Tom Braaten, Retired, everyone rose to salute the flag, sing the National Anthem and observe the Navy Honor Guard folding the flag immediately following the Color Guard. A show of patriotism. Silence. Respect. A small group of servicemen and women displaying a show of uniformity, precision, and cooperation. Where do you find such a display of human interaction, knowing your place in formation, doing what is your position, your job, no questions asked, quietly and with respect?
Major General Braaten gave his rendition of a veteran: “One who left all of the comforts of home on short or no notice, travel to a place not of his/her choice that is freezing cold or hot as the desert, to live in a tent in order to prosecute a policy set by his/her country, which may not be understood ….. He/she will be caused to miss birthdays, graduations, and other special events, and at one time or another wrote a personal check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including his/her life.” The last sentence is the most resounding truth of a soldier’s commitment, one that is rarely if ever shared in a civilian’s life. It’s not for the pay. It’s not for the glory. It’s for the country and the commitment.
Mayor Lewis spoke about being a “grateful community that has special parking for Purple Heart recipients. We are honored to have as residents those who served and continue to serve today.”
Havelock Police Department Chief Williams, who began his 25+ career in law enforcement as a Marine at Cherry Point said, “not everyone recognizes the accomplishments of the veterans, their humble sense of pride, extraordinary dedication; and hardships on and off the field. Their sacrifices don’t end when they take off their uniform.”
Chief Williams tells a personal story of having been injured and flown to Bethesda Hospital. Once he was healing, he walked around and entered different rooms to check on the patients. He saw a photo of a Marine in dress blues with his fiancee on a table and now the same man was now lying in bed missing a leg, some fingers, a patch over one eye and many scars. And what’s sadder is the knowledge that many of those who bravely served are homeless and many of them still have to deal with Post Traumatic Stress related to their service.
So there was dinner, dessert (remember the 5 cakes?), an excellent Silent Auction (thank you to all of our generous donors) and a general respect to all those who served and are serving. If you missed this memorable event, make sure to go next year. It takes a lot of work done by a few hands and is worth an evening out!
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Written by: Miriam Monroe, Havelock Chamber Ambassador.
Images by: Lt. Lavoie, Havelock Police Department
Born in Arkansas and went to school in Missouri, Williams began his 25-plus year career in law enforcement as a Marine at Cherry Point. He is currently a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves, awaiting retirement next January. His military service has primarily been with military police work, and during his last tour, he was reserve director for security and emergency services at Camp LeJeune. Chief Williams has a bachelor of arts in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He has completed police leadership development programs such as the Administrative Management Officer Program at N.C. State University.
Source: Hand, B. (2018, February 09)
Bob and Mary Warren
Carteret Craven Electric Foundation
Coastal Carolina Regional Airport
Cotten Funeral Home
Craven Community College
Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation
Federal Managers Assoc.
First Carolina REALTORS
First Citizens Bank
Havelock Chamber of Commerce
– Military Affairs Committee
Havelock Pool and Spa
Havelock/Cherry Point Rotary Club
MajGen and Mrs. Tom Braaten
Montford Marine Association Chamber 36
MSGT George F. Cook, MSMC (Ret.)
Munden Funeral Home
Navy Federal Credit Union
R-2 Home Repair and Maintenance
The Retired Enlisted Assoc.
Trent Cadillac Buick GMC
VFW Post 7315
Women Veterans of Coastal NC