County honors veterans
Catawba County residents can honor veterans and their families this week with several services scheduled throughout the county.
Claremont will honor county veterans Thursday at 11 a.m. in City Park. This is the city's second annual ceremony in remembrance of veterans from all wars.
"We just want to ensure we have a commitment to honor the city's veterans -- past, present and future," said Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick.
U.S. Army veteran William "Bill" Shillito is the event's speaker. He attended Startown Elementary School and Fred T. Foard High School before joining the Army. Shillito served his country for 22 years, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. He also taught for three years at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Claremont's ceremony will center around its Veterans Memorial in City Park. Barrick said city officials hope to expand the memorial through a program allowing citizens to purchase engraved bricks to honor veterans.
"This is going to give us the opportunity to expand our monument and continue to honor the veterans," Barrick said, adding that city officials contacted a vendor to provide engraving for the bricks, and the bricks will be available for purchase, "very shortly."
Claremont Mayor David Morrow will speak at the city's service, and the Claremont Gentleman Choir will sing "The Star Spangled Banner." Eagle Scout Kendall Hamm will lead attendees in the Pledge of Allegience and the Revs. Perry Miller and Wesley R. Frye will offer words of prayer.
"We are hopeful for a great turnout," Barrick said. "The more the merrier."
Concordia Lutheran Church in Conover will host a Veterans Day Service on Thursday at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.
"We've always chosen to recognize veterans over the years," said the Rev. Mark Schudde of Concordia Lutheran Church in Conover. "This year, we chose to invite the rest of the community."
The event will feature both patriotic and spiritual songs, as well as prayers and words of encouragement for veterans and their families.
"It's to draw the community together and share a common purpose," Schudde said.
Other area clergy members participating in Concordia's 45-minute service include the Revs. Don Bledsoe of Convenant Christian Church, Eric Hollar and Craig Schultz of Bethel Lutheran Church, Mickey Moree of First Methodist Church, Lonny McSherley of Trinity Church of Christ, Tom Roma of Concordia Lutheran Church and Bob Silber, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry executive director.
The Newton-Conover High School ROTC color guard will present flags. Conover Mayor Lee Moritz Jr. and City Manager Donald Duncan Jr. will also speak at the event.
"I am pleased that the citizens of Conover will be recognizing veterans, since they are the building block of both our country and our community," Duncan said. "Without them, we wouldn't have a country, starting with our founding fathers and continuing in times of war, and even peace, when the military serves as a deterrent. There is simply no way we can provide enough thanks or fully express our gratitude to our service men and their loved ones."
The church will serve a reception in the narthex and the church's patio following the service.
The town of Catawba will host its sixth annual Veterans Day Parade and Festival in downtown Catawba on Main Street.
The event is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The parade starts at 1 p.m.
Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett said more than 60 craft and food vendors are signed up to participate in the event.