Reunion heroes honored

The 121st Soldiers Reunion honored heroes.

Whether they are heroes of generations gone by, soldiers fighting overseas in current conflicts or  tomorrow’s servicemen and women, the Reunion honors them all.

Thousands of Catawba County residents gathered Thursday for Reunion Day and celebrated their heroes with memorial services, parades and patriotism.

“Thank God there are communities like this one that celebrate veterans and venerate their service,” said Col. Bradley McRee, a Catawba County native and member of the North Carolina Air National Guard. “Lest we forget, freedom isn’t free.”

McRee spoke at one of Reunion Day’s two memorial services in the Old Courthouse in downtown Newton.
Rainy weather forced the services, which are usually held in the Courthouse Square, indoors. Veterans, their friends and families, as well as county officials attended the services to pay respect to area heroes.

“I think it’s very unique to find a community in this country … to take the time to honor those who have served us, so we can gather and do what we do today,” said Kitty Barnes, Catawba County Board of Commissioners chairwoman.

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient retired Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Littrell of the U.S. Army spoke at both Reunion memorial services Thursday.

Littrell is only the second Medal of Honor recipient to speak during Soldiers Reunion’s 121 years of memorial services.

Littrell spoke to service attendees about the importance of never forgetting the men and women who fought and continue to fight for our country.

“No one gives their life in combat; their lives are taken from them,” Littrell said.