By Enrique Herrera, Guest Columnist
The United States inescapably entered the Great War known today, as WWI in April of 1917, joining the Allied Forces comprised of Russian, French, and the British forces, which were fighting the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. This war involved tens of millions of people from across the globe, four million of which came from the United States. Many young American patriots from the Sandhills of North Carolina answered their country’s call to duty without hesitation and made incredible sacrifices for their families and their countrymen. 19 months later, on 11 November 1918, at 11:00 a.m. in Paris, a historic event took place that would cease the fighting. The signing of the Armistice signified, and to this day commemorates the end of WWI. It was on this day that the Central Powers surrendered to the Allies, officially ending the war.
Since the signing of the Armistice in 1918, there have only been a handful of Armistice or Veterans Day celebrations in Southern Pines. The very first parade took place in the streets of downtown Southern Pines 1921, and the last parade took place in 1941 when 1,200 members of the 209th Coast Artillery along with their band, marched through downtown, after which they were given two hours of leave, which they spent mingling and shopping.
In 2012 Southern Pines, at the request of town and local veteran leaders, rekindled the Southern Pines Veterans Parade. A small team of highly motivated and extremely dedicated veterans led the charge, and in 67 days the Town of Southern Pines had its first Veterans Parade in 71 years. The late David Woodruff, a son of Southern Pines, a renowned local historian, and author wrote, “with 12% of Moore County’s population being military veterans, there is no doubt this was the right thing to do. In some circles, Southern Pines is known as a military town.” David Woodruff was instrumental in vision, growth, and evolution of what is known today as the Sandhills Vet Fest and the Southern Pines Veterans Parade. These events are his legacy.
On 11 November 2017 at 10 a.m., we will be commemorating the 5th Annual Southern Pines Veterans Parade. We take great pride fulfilling our mission statement, “Support Our Troops, and Honor Our Veterans,” and living up to our motto, “For Veterans, By Veterans.” This is a very planning, labor, and fiscally intensive undertaking, and we would like to take this moment to express our unconditional appreciation for our tremendous veterans, sponsors, and selfless volunteers, for without this winning combination, there would not be a Southern Pines Veterans Parade or a Sandhills Vet Fest.
Both photos contributed
2017 Sandhills Vet Fest – Schedule of Events:
Sunday, 29 October:
Strokes of Patriotism at the Fair Barn, 4 – 7 pm, Pinehurst
Saturday, 4 November:
Moore County Veterans Memorial Observance, 10 am, Carthage
Sunday, 5 November:
“Field of Honor” Flag Dedication at First Bank, 2 pm, Seven Lakes
Monday, 6 November:
First Gulf War Traveling Exhibit – Welcome Center, 10 am, Pinehurst
MOAA Veterans Putting Challenge, 10:30 am, Pinehurst
Thursday, 9 November:
Agent Orange and PTSD Seminar-Ag Center, 2 – 5 pm, Carthage
Veterans Support Concert- The Kruger Brothers, 7 pm, Pinecrest H.S.
Friday, 10 November:
SCC Jazz Band Veterans Concert-Free, 7 pm, Owens Auditorium
Saturday, 11 November:
Military/Vendors Expo – SP Park, 8 – 2 pm, Southern Pines
SP Veterans Parade, 10 – 11 am, Southern Pines
FB Stage at the Sunrise – Rae & Robinson, 11;30 – 2 pm, Southern Pines
Pinehurst Official Observance, 1 pm, Pinehurst Village Hall
Sunrise Theater – Military Film, 2:30 pm, Southern Pines
Sunday, 12 November:
SF Assoc. 5K & Chili-cook off, 10 – 12 pm, Southern Pines
Blue-Vass Music Festival and Car Show, 1 – 7:00 pm, Vass