After a couple of events last weekend to warm up, Garner will continue to commemorate Memorial Day on the holiday itself.
Tomorrow, a Memorial Day Remembrance will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Garner Veterans Memorial at Lake Benson Park. Former Miss North Carolina Arlie Honeycutt and local young talent Savannah Richmond will perform.
Last week the events honoring fallen military personnel started last Sunday with a “Gold Star Memorial Day Family Fun Day” fund-raiser at Aversboro Restaurant and Sports Bar. Later that evening, nationally-recognized singers Steve Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson performed for hundreds including a Medal of Honor recipient in a Salute the Troops event at nearby Aversboro Road Baptist Church.
The event at Aversboro Restaurant drew about 100 people according to organizer Jocelyn Cahall, and it raised about $4,000 for the Captain Joseph House Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to help families of fallen soldiers. The effort was spearheaded by David Griffith, a 17-year-old who lost his brother, a special forces soldier, in Afghanistan.
Amerson and Stephenson, meanwhile, drew a crowd of about 400-500 to Aversboro Baptist for what was the first such Memorial Day event in Garner, according to Doug Pedigo. He said the Garner Veterans Memorial Committee along with Tim Stevens (a Garner resident active in the arts who works for the News & Observer as a prep sports writer) drove the event and said the church was honored to host it on behalf of the town. Pedigo hopes it becomes an annual event.
“You could see that the folks were moved by the singing and the presentations,” Pedigo said. “It was a very moving event. I think it was well received to have that attendance the first time out.”
At the event Medal of Honor recipient Joseph Marm was also honored. Marm, a Pittsburgh native who now lives in North Carolina, served in Vietnam and as a 2nd Leiutenant earned his honor in the Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle between U.S. Army regulars and the People’s Army of Vietnam. He single-handedly attacked an enemy position suffering severe wounds in the process; he survived and the next month, December 1966, he received the award. He retired as a Colonel in 1995.
About 100 veterans stepped forward to be honored and receive token medals at the event, Pedigo said.