The price of freedom

Events run Friday through Monday
May. 23, 2013 @ 07:14 PM

Families of soldiers who paid the ultimate price for freedom will gather this weekend in the Chair City to commemorate their loved ones.

The North Carolina Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony begins today at 8 a.m. with a golf tournament at Winding Creek Golf Course.

Festivities will continue at 4 p.m. Sunday with dinner at Hillside Park Baptist Church, followed by a memorial service. The 82nd Airborne Division Band will perform at 7 p.m. at the Finch Auditorium.

"We've got these families who gave all for this American freedom," said Joe Leonard, chief executive officer of the Memorial Day Committee. "It's real easy to go the beach, it's real easy to go to the mountains for Memorial Day, get together with your neighbor and have a cookout, but what those people who bought you the right to do it? If we don't teach our young the price that has been paid for freedom, they're not going to know."

Memorial Day begins with a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial on Interstate 85

The downtown streets of Thomasville will swell with people waiting for the 11 a.m. parade to begin. The parade concludes at Cushwa Stadium, where Maj. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt, 18th Airborne Deputy Commander, is scheduled address the crowd at 12:30 p.m.

“Our parade marshal and keynote speaker, with or without sequestration, has come through big for us,” said Joel Pierce, chief of staff for the parade. “This event is put together through the contributions of our committee and generous donations from individuals and businesses. We appreciate everyone who has helped with this.”

The events will conclude with a ceremony and family presentation at 1 p.m. and parachute jump at 1:30 p.m.

Those in attendance at the parade are asked to bring two canned food items to the downtown fountain in front of the Big Chair, or to Cushwa Stadium. A collection point also will be set u at the 82nd Airborne Division Band Concert. The food will be distributed among local food pantries.


Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or


8 a.m. Golf tournament at Winding Creek.

10 a.m. Meet and greet at Wal-Mart and Kmart.


4 p.m. Dinner, Hillside Park Baptist.

5:10 p.m. Memorial service, Hillside Park Baptist.

7 p.m. 82nd Airborne concert, Finch Auditorium.


10 a.m. Ceremony, Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, I-85.

11 a.m. Downtown parade to Cushwa Stadium.

12:30 p.m. MG Jeffrey Colt, XVIII Airborne Deputy Commander.

1 p.m. Ceremony and family presentation.

1:30 p.m. Parachute jump at Cushwa Stadium.