Mount Airy’s annual salute to military men and women will unfold Friday with a Veterans Day parade through the central business district and a special program at the city war memorial.
Friday’s observance offers citizens the chance to recognize and honor all veterans, and organizers are urging everyone to attend. Mayor David Rowe said at a city council meeting last week that it is a fitting time to remember “the sacrifices our veterans have made through the years.”
The parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. from Veterans Memorial Park, where units will assemble. The procession will head down Main Street and end at Rockford Street.
It typically features members of high school bands — including Mount Airy, North Surry, East Surry and Surry Central — and representatives of local military groups.
Veterans Day service
The program at the Mount Airy War Memorial, located at the corner of South Main and Rockford streets, begins at 11 a.m. That time reflects a Veterans Day tradition launched with the signing of the Armistice in France to end World War I, which went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Friday’s patriotic program will include music, special speakers and ceremonial activities by a local Junior ROTC group.
Local radio station owner Kelly Epperson will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, as he has for a number of years.
After opening remarks by Epperson, the program lineup will include:
• An invocation by Austin Caviness, the pastor of Salem Fork Christian Church;
• The raising of the flag by the North Surry High School Air Force Junior ROTC, led by Lt. Col. John Bowes and 1st Sgt. Kenneth Goetzke;
• A singing of the national anthem by Nicole Marie McMillan;
• The Pledge of Allegiance led by North Surry High School;
• An official welcome to the crowd and the reading of a city Veterans Day proclamation by Mayor Rowe;
• Recognition of commanders of local veterans organizations and auxiliaries by Epperson;
• Remarks by guest speakers including Larry Johnson, a member of the Surry County Board of Commissioners; Kenn Kopf, a U.S .Air Force veteran; and Mark Alderman of the Mount Airy Elks Lodge, a group that stresses patriotism;
• “The Meaning of Veterans Day and Memorial Day” by Dale Badgett, president of the Surry County Veterans Council, who is an Air Force retiree;
• A medley of service songs by members of the North Surry High School Air Force Junior ROTC;
• A “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” performance by McMillan;
• A flag-folding ceremony led by the North Surry High School Air Force Junior ROTC;
• Closing remarks by Mark Barr, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, and the director of Friday’s program along with Nicki Brame.
After the service, Veterans Memorial Park will host a Veterans Day event beginning at noon, which is open to the public.
It will include free food, drinks and music by Sue Nester and Friends.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.