Eastern Wake News

Knightdale honors veterans with celebration

American Legion Post 148 Adjutant Allen White reads a poem during remarks at the town of Zebulon’s Veterans Day observance.
American Legion Post 148 Adjutant Allen White reads a poem during remarks at the town of Zebulon’s Veterans Day observance. jwhitfield@newsobserver.com

Towns in eastern Wake County got a jump on observing Veterans Day, holding events to remind those who have served the country that their efforts will not be forgotten.

“It’s just mainly to honor veterans – that’s all,” said Sandra Dutton, member and past president of Two Green Thumbs Garden Club of Knightdale.

Honorees were invited to participate in laying flowers at the base of the memorial. It made for a special time for those in attendance.

“I think it makes all of us veterans feel pretty good to be out here for honoring our nation, and people that are out here are respecting us for it,” said John D. Lucas, 74, who retired as a Navy chief in 2004.

Lucas served 26 combined years, including four years in the Air Force. He worked as a combat engineer with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FORTY – a Seabee division based out of Port Hueneme, Calif.

Sunday’s event gave Lucas and other veterans an opportunity to revisit and share some of the better memories of their time in service. Lucas recalled his time in Guam, the Phillipines and Spain, and the combat he experienced in the Gulf War.

He left Sunday’s event with a refreshed sense of public support, and said that inspired him.

“It means that I’m honoring my nation and I’m proud to know that I’m doing that, having served all those years,” Lucas said. “I’m out here to show people that I served my country and I’m taking pride in what I’m doing.

“Half of my hip is all steel – I got hurt while I was in combat (in Desert Storm). But I’m still alive. That’s something to be proud of.”

The club arranged for traffic to be diverted around the heart of downtown Knightdale for a ceremony Sunday afternoon. It marked the ninth year club members have used the Blue Star Memorial garden they upkeep on North First Avenue as a home for the tribute.

The program was built on familiar Veterans Day-event content. Boy Scouts and ministers, town and elected officials made the walk.

The Knightdale event concluded with a performance of taps by Chris Suggs of Eagle Scout Troop 236.

The Town of Zebulon kicked off Veterans Day events in the region with a ceremony at the Zebulon Community Center, formerly the Eric Davis National Guard Armory, on Friday morning. Raleigh’s parade was Saturday.