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Heroes Homecoming events to recognize veterans, military families

Fayetteville Observer - 10/27/2018

Oct. 27--Communities across Cumberland County will pay tribute to military families and veterans during this year's Heroes Homecoming celebrations.

The annual tribute, which spans five days in early November, is in its sixth year and will include a number of events scheduled around Veterans Day.

This year's theme is "A Centennial of Service," paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the creation of Fort Bragg. Events will pay special honors to the sacrifice and service of veterans and families alike.

Events include an expo to welcome military families to the Fayetteville area, a concert and art exhibit at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville and a Centennial of Service Speaker Series.

Officials with the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said the event is part commemoration and part reunion.

"With so many amazing military anniversaries this year, what a perfect way to honor all those who have been involved both at home and abroad than by dedicating Heroes Homecoming 6 to them," said John Meroski, CEO of the convention and visitors bureau.

More than a dozen events are planned for the week-long celebration, and hundreds of businesses and community organizations are expected to participate. A full schedule is below, but here are a few things that will set this year's Heroes Homecoming apart from past events:

Hometown Hero

Retired Gen. James J. Lindsay will be the first recipient of Fayetteville's new Hometown Hero Award.

Lindsay will be honored Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville.

The Hometown Hero Award is meant to celebrate a local resident who has "contributed to the nurture and development of the relationship between the city and the military," officials said.

The award was created through a partnership between the city, the Cool Spring Downtown District, the Cumberland County Veterans Council and the Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation.

Lindsay, 86, served in the Army from 1952 to 1990 and commanded the 82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg. He also was the first commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

In 1990, he helped create the Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation, which raised money to build the museum downtown. It opened in 2000.

Mayor Mitch Colvin said Lindsay was a fitting choice for the award.

"He has truly been a hero to us in Fayetteville, not only for his decorated military service but for his tireless efforts in bringing the Airborne & Special Operations Museum to downtown," Colvin said. "The city of Fayetteville is forever grateful and indebted to General Lindsay for his significant contributions to our community."

Speaker Series

The Centennial of Service Speaker Series is a new addition to this year's Heroes Homecoming. It will bring three guest speakers to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.

EJ Snyder, Kevin Maurer and Lewis Hunt will take turns telling their stories and answering questions, officials said.

The event is slated to begin at 2 p.m., following the Hometown Hero Award presentation.

Snyder appeared on television shows "Dual Survivor" and "Naked & Afraid" and is an extreme survivalist.

Maurer previously covered Fort Bragg as a reporter for The Fayetteville Observer. He has authored several books on local troops and is the author of "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden."

Hunt is the founder of Operation Tattooing Freedom, a nonprofit offering veterans free tattoos to help them cope with post-traumatic stress.

Missing Man Tables

More than 150 businesses and organizations across the county will host Missing Man Tables during Heroes Homecoming to honor troops missing in action from past conflicts.

Participants include the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, Fayetteville City Hall and dozens of local businesses. The tables will be on display Nov. 1-12.

Ringing Bells

Churches, businesses and residents -- on and off Fort Bragg -- are being encouraged to ring bells 11 times at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.

The ringing display of patriotism is being organized by the Museum of the Cape Fear as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I.

Residents are encouraged to bring bells to the Museum of the Cape Fear, the Poe House or Arsenal Park to join in the observance. If you don't have a bell, officials encourage residents to use recordings or mobile apps.

If you plan to participate, organizers ask that you contact leisa.greathouse@ncdcr.gov. Similar events will be held throughout the state under the direction of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Heroes Homecoming Schedule

Nov. 8

Spouses in Military Expo

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kiwanis Recreation Center, 352 Devers St.

The Fayetteville Regional Chamber Military Affairs Council will host the expo, which is designed to acquaint military spouses with Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

Booths will highlight restaurants and retailers, while also offering free samples and other giveaways. A free luncheon will feature remarks by Wesley Bauguess, a Gold Star wife and author.

The luncheon will be limited to about 300 spouses. To register, go to militaryaffairsnc.memberzone.com/events/details/spouses-in-military-sim-conference-14

Nov. 9

Concert and Art Exhibit

When: 6 p.m. at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, 100 Bragg Blvd.

The Community Patriots Art Center will host a concert and art exhibit, featuring the work of local troops and veterans and a musical performance by Sheceniah Music.

Nov. 10

Veterans Day Parade

When: 10 a.m. in downtown Fayetteville

The annual Veterans Day Parade, hosted by the Cumberland County Veterans Council, will include more than 100 participants, including local veterans organizations and formations of troops from Fort Bragg.

This year, the parade will not be broadcast on live television, but it will be available for streaming online at WRAL.com.

Motorcycle rally

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson, 3950 Sycamore Dairy Road

A Heroes Homecoming Motorcycle Rally will feature live music, vendors and food. It is sponsored by Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson and Freedom Biker Church.

Proclamation

When: Noon at the North Carolina Veterans Park, 300 Bragg Blvd.

The city of Fayetteville will make its annual Veterans Day Proclamation following the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Fayetteville.

Chili cook-off

When: 1 p.m. at Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom, 5435 Corporation Drive in Hope Mills

The Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce will host a chili cook-off and veterans appreciation day. There will be free entry, chili and VIP passes for veterans, a cornhole tournament and live entertainment.

Radio station WKML will broadcast live from the event until 2 p.m. Crow Kozak of The Chemical Lizards will perform starting at 2 p.m. And KasCie Page will perform at 3:30 p.m.

Hometown Hero Award ceremony

When: 1 to 6 p.m. at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum

The city of Fayetteville will recognize its first Hometown Hero Award recipient when it honors retired Gen. James Lindsay at 1 p.m.

The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's Centennial of Service Speaker Series will begin at 2 p.m., with remarks by TV personality EJ Snyder, journalist Kevin Maurer and Lewis Hunt, the founder of Operation Tattooing Freedom.

Reading

When: 6 p.m. at the Pate Room of the Headquarters Library, 300 Maiden Lane

A staged reading of veterans' oral histories, titled "I Was There," will take place. The readings are based on interviews by Cyndi Briggs and Brook Davis of Winston-Salem and Wake Forest University. The Museum of the Cape Fear is sponsoring the event.

Nov. 11

Bell ringing

When: 11 a.m. across Cumberland County

Churches, businesses and residents are encouraged to ring bells and sound alarms in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I.

Hope Mills memorial

When: 11:10 a.m. at the Hope Mills Veterans Memorial, 5766 Rockfish Road in Hope Mills

A reading of names will take place in honor of the town's war dead. A field of flags will pay tribute to local veterans.

Reading

When: 2 p.m. at the Pate Room

A staged reading of veterans' oral histories, titled "I Was There."

Veterans Day ceremony

When: 2 p.m. at VFW Post 4542, 1241 Pine Knoll Drive in Spring Lake

VFW Post 4542 will host a Veterans Day ceremony.

"The Home Front"

When: 3 to 5 p.m. at the Eastover Community Center, 4008 School St. in Eastover

The Eastover Civic Club will host "The Home Front," an event focused on the families and friends left behind when a service member deploys.

Veterans Day ceremony

When: 3 p.m. at the Hope Mills Veterans Memorial, 5766 Rockfish Road in Hope Mills

VFW Post 10630 will host a Veterans Day ceremony.

Balloon release

When: Dusk at Hope Mills Lake, 3404 N. Main St.

One hundred biodegradable balloon doves will be released in commemoration of 100 years since the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

Nov. 12

Veterans Appreciation Luncheon

When: 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Hope Mills Parks & Recreation Center, 5766 Rockfish Road

The Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon. To RSVP, contact chamber officials at 910-423-4314.

Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at dbrooks@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3567.

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(c)2018 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Visit The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) at www.fayobserver.com

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