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Your Guide To Memorial Day Events In North Carolina

A field of flags outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.
Gerry Dincher
Flickr/Creative Commons

People will gather across the state for Memorial Day ceremonies honoring men and women who died in service to the US military.

Governor Pat McCrory and the commander for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will gather for a ceremony at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington.

During World War II, the battleship participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific, survived a broadside torpedo attack, and earned 15 battle stars.

Marine Brigadier General Robert Castellvi said the armed forces are facing new issues since the time the North Carolina sailed.

"We're in a period of great transformational change in our military. Now we're in our 13th year of sustained combat operations in two wars," Castellvi said. "But one thing never changes, and that's the respect that we have for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their nation."

Castellvi added it's also important to remember active duty servicemen and women who remain in harm's way.

The Triangle Area chapter of Veterans for Peace are hosting a memorial service on the NC State University Campus this afternoon.

Chapter president John Heuer served as a merchant seaman in the Vietnam War. He said it's important to remember deceased veterans, as well as the casualties of war in other countries.

“It's an opportunity for us to think about the possibility of ending war. We know now that there are more effective means to resolving international conflicts,” Heuer said.

The Veterans for Peace ceremony will take place outside the NC State Memorial Belltower, which honors graduates who died in World War One. The tower is inscribed with a line from the Bible's Book of Isaiah about the end of all wars, "They will beat their swords into plowshares."

Heuer says his group will dedicate a 24-foot replica of the tower that will travel the state.

Information about these and other area events can be found below.

10 a.m.

Memorial Day Ceremony
Freedom Memorial Park, Fayetteville


This military-oriented Memorial Day ceremony will celebrate the veterans who have passed. Bleacher seating for 300, but bring a lawn chair to be sure of a seat. Usually 700 - 850 people attend.

Memorial Day Ceremony
Hillcrest Cemetery, Cary

Annual Memorial Day service in Cary sponsored by Post 67 Cary, NC American Legion. Features local dignitaries, scouts, and music. Bring your own lawn chair.


11:00 a.m.

Purple Heart Country, Memorial Dedication
Johnston County Courthouse, 207 E Johnston St, Smithfield

The Johnston County Council of Veterans Organizations is sponsoring a Memorial Day ceremony. The guest speaker will be the Honorable Knox Jenkins, retired Superior Court Judge of Johnston County and veteran of the Korean War.  Johnston County Commissioner Chad Stewart will publish a proclamation during the ceremony proclaiming Johnston County as a “Purple Heart County."  The Purple Heart is the oldest decoration in present use. It was initially created as the badge of military merit by General George Washington in 1782. The Purple Heart is awarded to service members wounded or killed in combat with a declared enemy of the United States.

The family of the late Army Sgt. Peter “Chris” Bohler will unveil their son’s name engraved on a county memorial.

Info: (919) 989-5067

11:30 a.m.

Wreath Laying Ceremony at the North Carolina Capitol
1 E. Edenton Street, Union Square, Raleigh

Please join the men and women of the Tar Heel Detachment, Marine Corps League, as they remember those service members that gave their lives for their country. Ceremony takes place on the north side of the Capitol building.

Click herefor more information.


Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM) Dedication Ceremony
100 Bragg Blvd., Fayetteville

Special Operations Forces (SOF) K-9 Memorial Foundation will host a Paver Dedication Ceremony for the special operations K-9 Soldier in front of the life-sized, bronze statue of a Belgian Malinois dressed in full combat gear.

Click herefor more information, or call (910) 257-6839

4 p.m.

Tribute at Historic Oakwood Cemetery, Field of Honor
701 Oakwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27601

Historic Oakwood Cemetery will hold a ceremony of tribute to deceased veterans. The setting will be the Veterans’ Field of Honor within Historic Oakwood Cemetery. This 45 minute ceremony will have music, tributes and a key note speaker.

Info: (919) 832-6077

5:00 p.m.

Dedication of Mobile Swords to Ploughshares Tower Replica
NC State Memorial Belltower, 2011 Hillsborough St, Raleigh

The goal of the project is to strategically deploy a mobile Armistice Bell Tower and 'Swords to Plowshares' Peoples History Exhibit.

The components of the tower and exhibit will be designed so that they can be assembled in no more than a day by a few volunteers and transported on a trailer to different locations. The tower will be covered with over 1000 shimmering aluminum 'bricks' suspended from wires stretched across a light metal framework.  The shape will be roughly reminiscent of the iconic World War I-era bell tower located on the campus of NC State University, with a replica of the bronze door at its base inscribed with the words, “And They Shall Beat Swords into Plowshares”.

Click herefor more information.

5:45 p.m.

Battleship USS North Carolina
1 Battleship Road Northeast, Wilmington, NC 28401

People from across the state will gather together on the deck of the Battleship North Carolina to pay their respects. An emotional ceremony, preceding and concluding with military musical arrangements provided by a military band, and a guest speaker reflecting on the past as well as where we are today. The Executive Director of the Battleship, Captain Terry A. Bragg and members of the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission invite the public to this free event.

Info: / (910) 251-5797 /

7 p.m.

Veterans for Peace Memorial Service
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St, Raleigh

Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans for Peace offers third annual alternative commemoration in poetry, prose and song.

Info: (919) 828-0897 /

All day:

Military Appreciation Day
Tryon Palace, 529 South Front Street, New Bern NC

In honor of those who served our country over the years, and those who still do, Tryon Palace will offer free admission to all active duty and military veterans with the presentation of military I.D. or proof of military service. Discounted admission will be given to their accompanying family members as well.

Click herefor more information or call (252) 639-3500

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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