CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the host of the Veterans Day event. The article has been updated to reflected this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
Orange County hosted an event Monday to celebrate Veterans Day at the Orange County Veterans Memorial.
Speakers included U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., Chapel Hill Town Council Member Allen Buansi and Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils.
The ceremony began with an invocation led by Rev. Robert Campbell. The veterans present stood and were recognized by retired member of the U.S. Navy Lee Heavlin. Retired U.S. Navy member Bruce Runberg then gave a fundraising update for the veterans memorial.
The Orange County Veterans Memorial is located on the grounds of the Orange County Southern Human Services Center. A design for the memorial by landscape architect David Swanson was presented to the Orange County Commissioners on Sept. 20, 2016.
At the event, Runberg said the Veterans Memorial Committee is fundraising to complete phase two of the memorial, which includes a permanent flagpole, electricity service to the flagpole for lighting as well as brickwork and stonework around the flagpole. Runberg said the committee has collected around $100,000 in donations and it hopes to start construction in around 30 days.
“When we started this many years ago it was a different site,” said Penny Rich, chairperson of the Board of Orange County Commissioners, at the event. “We wanted a more central spot, a place that could be serene where you could come meditate and spend some time with yourself.”
Claude Eubanks, a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in the Vietnam War for two years, said he believed the creation of the memorial was long overdue.
“I think that the important thing of these memorials is that they are very beneficiary to the veterans, and it’s important to be recognized for the service that the military personnel perform and carry out every day,” he said.
During his speech, Price described the importance of having the memorial in the community.
“It’s simply an extension of the spirit of service that veterans have brought to this community for a long, long time,” he said. “There’s a strong spirit of service that veterans bring back to our community, have bettered our common life.”
Price went on to mention issues that veterans face at the local and national level, such as receiving proper mental health services and education as well as finding jobs and affordable housing. He also spoke of the need to remember that we are all Americans.
“In the midst of what our country’s going through right now, we need to be reminded of what unites us, and Veterans Day is a perfect reminder of that, what our country stands for, the values and commitments that our veterans have fought to protect,” Price said.
Donations to the Orange County Veterans Memorial at Chapel Hill can be made at its website.
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