Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day - for many citizens the various holidays are confusing. But while all of these days were established to honor members of the military, each has a different group of honorees.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military and is observed on the last Monday of May. Armed Forces Day, which is not a federal holiday, is observed every third Saturday in May to honor active-duty (current) service members.
Veterans Day is a federal holiday that honors the men and women who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces and are still living. The holiday falls on November 11th of every year, commemorating the first anniversary of the end of World War I On November 11, 1919.
In Cleveland County there will be a number of different ways to mark the Veterans Day holiday, which falls on Thursday, Nov. 11 this year. The day will be kicked off with a parade at 10 a.m. through the streets of Shelby. It will begin at the site of the Foothills Farmers Market and will end at the grounds of the Earl Scruggs Center, located in the historic old Cleveland County courthouse.
"We are thrilled that the parade is back after being cancelled last year due to Covid," says Debra Conn of the Cleveland County Veterans Service Office. "We hope veterans, veterans service organizations, ROTC groups, high school bands, car clubs, local government officials and many others will all be a part of this year's parade."
The Grand Marshall for this year's parade is a local resident, Kenneth Walker, who will be representing all veterans who have served in all branches of the military, according to Conn. He will be riding in a 1952 Army Jeep owned by Clarence Jones.
A formal program will follow the parade, with a keynote speaker of David Mansberger.
"Our intent is to reach out to veterans and honor them, especially those in Cleveland County and close surrounding areas," says Marty Pendergraft, chairman of the Cleveland County Veterans Advisory Council. "The Annual Veterans Day Parade and Program is one way we strive to involve local veterans."
Following the courthouse program, the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) will host a free hot dog lunch for veterans at the Warren F. Hoyle American Legion Post 82, 1628 S. Lafayette Street, with the help of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 82. Veterans are encouraged to stop by the post from 11:30 a.m. - 1 pm to enjoy lunch with other veterans or to get a to-go container.
After the lunch, veterans and other community members are invited to come to the Post and assist students from Shelby Middle School in assembling hygiene bags from 2-4 p.m. The completed hygiene bags will be distributed for use by veteran patients at the VA Hospital in Asheville. The bags will contain deodorant, soap, a washcloth, shampoo, hand sanitizer, a pack of tissues, a comb and two pairs of socks.
"These hygiene kits help make a veteran's stay a little nicer," says Dr. Jack Weller, SAL #82 commander. "When I spoke to the head of volunteer services at the VA Hospital in Asheville, I realized that there is a lot of need for these kinds of items."
The hygiene kit assembly is a joint project between SAL Squadron #82, the Southwestern Conference of North Carolina Lutheran Men in Mission and the local chapter of Woodsmen of the World. For more information about the parade and program, contact Vallery McCoy at 704-435-1516 or by email at TVMustang68@bellsouth.net.
For more information about the hotdog lunch or hygiene bags assembly, contact Weller at 704-473-5282 or email him at wsweller@aol.