North Surry hosting Military Appreciation night Friday
by David Broyles Staff Reporter
North Surry High School’s Air Force Junior Officers Training Program (JROTC) cadets are putting the finishing touches on plans for Military Appreciation Day Friday during the North Surry-Surry Central football game.
According to Lt. Colonel John Bowes a variety of special ceremonies are being finalized on behalf of veterans who will be admitted free to the game that night.
“We are asking everyone attending to dress in the red, white and blue theme that night. When the first 250 veterans walk through the gate we are going to ask them what branch of the military they served in and present them with a special medallion thanking them for their service,” said Bowes. “We also have cadets pre-selling concessions tickets on behalf of the first 250 veterans as well. They will go to these veterans in the stands, ask them what they would like from the concession stand, go and get it and bring it back to them at no charge. We want them to feel as special as we can make them feel.”
Another activity planned that night by the cadets is a memorial balloon release. Participants may purchase a balloon for $1 and have the name of a veteran or active service military member attached to it. Bowes said the helium-filled balloons will be released at halftime as part of the honors ceremonies. Gates are set to open for the event at 6:30 p.m. There will be reserved seating for vets and their families.
“Our halftime show is going to be big,” Bowes said. “We will start with our JROTC singing ensemble performing patriotic music. We will also have a Tennessee Walking Horse in special patriotic garb ridden by a cadet who will ride by with the flag of each branch of the service as its song is played. The North Surry Cheerleaders and Drill Team will also perform special choreography on the field.”
Another event set for Friday night is a “pass and review” where the cadets will march by and salute the veterans in the stands. Bowes said previous appreciation events have been held by East Surry and Surry Central cadets.
“What we really need is a bunch (of veterans) who want to show up so we can say thank you to them,” Bowes said. “We want as many considering going to a game to know this night is definitely the one you want to go to. This is the third annual one and this is not just any ball game. We promise they will feel appreciated that night. It’s important to show this to those who served and who are still serving.”
Bowes, who is a 13-consecutive year veteran of combat, stressed that demonstrating this appreciation has never been more important with many still involved in conflicts.
“We (the United States military) have been at war since October of 2001 and we have not stopped since,” said Bowes. “Our military has been under some severe stress. I don’t think our soldiers feel as appreciated now. We needed a way to make them feel the American people haven’t forgotten them.”
Bowes said the cadets are excited to be involved with the effort and said honoring veterans is “probably the number one JROTC’s main assignments.” He said it was a big part of the program’s curriculum. He explained that the group has staged fundraisers to help pay for the events such as asking North Surry Students if they would like to purchase medallions to honor veterans on appreciation day.
“We were doing a fundraiser at Walmart to help buy medallions and Cadet Ruth Caudle told me how touched she was to see the response of customers to support what the cadets were doing. One customer even followed through with a sizable donation for the effort. The patriotism of Surry County is not forced but genuine. The Bill of Rights and its freedoms are alive and well in Surry County. I wouldn’t want to live in any other place.”
Persons may call 336-789-5055 for more information on Military Appreciation Day.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 336-719-1952.
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