Many view Memorial Day weekend as the kickoff to Summer, a time for barbeques, pool parties, and beach trips, but the true meaning of the holiday observed on the fourth Monday in May is much more somber. Memorial Day was first widely observed in 1868 to commemorate the sacrifice made by those who fought in the American Civil War. After WWI, the day grew to honor all those who lost their lives in American wars. Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971.
As President Ronald Reagan put it, “today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It's a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It's a day to be with the family and remember.”
In Southeastern North Carolina, there are many ways to join with our neighbors and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our great nation.
Southport Memorial Day Parade
At 10:30 a.m. the Southport Memorial Day Parade will begin at the corner of Lord and Tenth streets, ending at the John N. Smith Cemetery, Leonard Street, with an 11 a.m. Memorial Ceremony.
Jacksonville Memorial Day Ceremony
MGen Robert Dickerson (Ret) will speak at the Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in a ceremony hosted by the Beirut Memorial Chapter 642 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Following the ceremony, tour the Lejeune Memorial Gardens, just across the street--visit the second largest Vietnam Memorial in the country, the Beirut Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial Beam, the Montford Point Marine Memorial, and the largest Eagle, Globe & Anchor sculpture in the USA. An informational sheet for a self-guided tour can be found here.
American Legion Post 543 Memorial Day Ceremony
At 11 a.m., join American legion Post 543 for a ceremony including guest speaker, Secretary Larry Hall of the N.C. Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, presentation of colors, the National Anthem sung by Lois Moore, and the placement of a memorial wreath, followed by Taps.
New Hanover County Veterans Council Memorial Day Services
At 11 a.m. New Hanover County Veterans Council will hold a “Tolling of the Bell” ceremony, naming more than 600 local veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the last 12 months since Memorial Day 2017. Speakers will include Mayor Bill Saffo, Chairman Woody White of the County Commissioners, Bill O’Brien of Veteran Owned, Veteran Grown, and Iris Winter of Gold Star Mothers.
Southport Memorial Day Remembrance
At 2 p.m. The Southport Junior Woman’s Club and the city of Southport Department of Tourism present Southport’s annual Memorial Day Observance, “Days of Remembrance,” honoring the United States armed forces at the Southport Community Building, 223 E. Bay St., Southport, including homemade apple pie and iced cream.
Battleship North Carolina
At 5 pm, remember those who gave their lives in service at the Battleship’s Memorial Day Observance which will feature a military guest speaker, all-service Color guard, 21-gun salute by a Marine Corps Honor Guard, military band, Taps, and a memorial wreath cast into the waters.
These and other events locally and nation-wide on Memorial Day show our appreciation for those who have served, as well as their families, and remind us of the incredible sacrifice so many have made on our behalf. Thank you, American Heroes, for all you do.