The Town of China Grove is proud to pay a much-deserved tribute to the men and women who have served our Country in the Armed Forces.
The Town has constructed a Veteran’s Memorial on the corner of 1st Street and South Myrtle Street in Community Memorial Park. This beautiful memorial features the United States Flag and includes five stone plaques commemorating each military branch including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. There is a bronze eagle mounted on the top. The Veteran's Memorial was dedicated on May 17th, 2018.
The following speech was delivered by Joseph P. Vaughn, Medical Center Director of the Salisbury VA Medical Center.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here on a fine NC morning and pay tribute to the Veterans of China Grove. You know in my line of work I often get asked, what is a Veteran? Usually they mean in the sense of what qualifies someone to use the VA. Of course, there’s the practical definition of someone that has served in the Armed Forces. But what I learned while serving in the U.S. Navy is that they are brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers. They come from small towns and big cities all across this great country. They are ordinary people called to an extraordinary task, protect this great nation and defend our way of life. Whether a volunteer or volun-told, the young men and women that have served in our Armed Forces have always risen to the occasion and through courage, pride, determination, and dedication to duty we still enjoy freedoms that was earned by Veterans over 200 years ago.
Even today as our troops fight and die in Afghanistan, Americans raise their hand, take the oath to support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic knowing that they too, could pay the ultimate sacrifice for the country. In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy spoke the words that every American knows, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Every Veteran has said I will do everything I can for my country, up to and including giving my life. Whether it was the doughboy in France, the GI at Bastogne or later at Inchon, the marine in the jungles of Vietnam, the sailor patrolling the Persian Gulf, or airman flying missions in and out of Iraq, our debt to these heroes can never be repaid but our gratitude and respect should last forever.
We should all also be acutely aware that our many of our heroes have scars both visible and invisible. Many of these young men and women have seen sights that aren’t something you forget about overnight. They’ve been told their entire time in the service to just “suck it up” and “just push through it.” Once home and the mission is over, then the mind has plenty of time to think about what happened “over there.” I was recently at a reunion of a unit that had served in Afghanistan about 10 years ago. I saw many missing limbs, prosthetics, scars and other sings of the carnage of war. But more importantly, listening to their conversations, were the compelling stories of mental scars that don’t heal as quickly as those of the flesh. For these Veterans, we owe them a sympathetic ear. In the gospel of John, Jesus tells the disciples “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I suspect that every Veteran has been willing to lay down their life not only for their friends, but for each of us as well.
In closing, I want to encourage you to get to know the stories behind the names on those bricks. You don’t need to look beyond them to find stories of heroism and inspiring patriotism.
God bless you, God bless our Veterans, and God bless the United States of America.
Engraved bricks at the base of the Memorial honoring and remembering veterans from all branches of service will be installed and individuals and organizations can participate by purchasing engraved bricks. Brick sales are ongoing with pricing of $50 per 4" x 8" brick. Brick order forms are available at the Town Hall or can be downloaded here.