By Jess Bailey
This Saturday, Waxhaw will host their annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Military Wall of Honor on East North Main Street in downtown Waxhaw. The ceremony will recognize those who have served in the Armed Services and celebrate their contribution to all our communities.
This year’s ceremony will be emceed by 21-year Air Force veteran, local Cub Scout Leaders, and annual ceremony attendee Michael Krueger, who’s excited to be a part of encouraging the public to come out and realize the significance of the day.
“That there is such a large showing of support for our local Veteran community is pretty meaningful to me,” Krueger said.
The ceremony will consist of its traditional agenda and includes repeat participation by community groups such as ROTC and Cub Scouts, which will be charged with the presentation of colors and leading the pledge of allegiance, respectively. Local crafters will also be in attendance, donating handmade, commemorative quilts patriotic in theme, to veterans nominated by their friends and family, as a way to further honor their service.
Each year, the ceremony features a keynote speaker, and this year, upon referrals from the American Legion, Tommy Watson was selected. A current Commander of the 136th Chaplain detachment with the North Carolina Army National Guard, Watson has called Indian Trail his home for the last 12 years. Heavily involved in church networks, he’s committed to helping veterans in the area start their own business by connecting their purpose and passion to a profit stream.
Furthering that mission, Watson serves as a Curriculum Trainer at Eagle Rock Camp. This is a faith-based camp for military families that teach topics such as financial readiness, marriage enrichment, parenting, conflict resolution, and much more. Members of the military that suffer from PTSD and/or TBI (traumatic brain injury) from all over the country, along with their families, are invited to attend one of four to six retreats planned throughout the year. Additionally, attendees receive a 2-year continuum of care, where Eagle Rock Camp continues to connect them to resource providers in their area. Essentially, giving them the tools they need to succeed on their own.
Watson will open the ceremony on Saturday with a prayer and subsequent sermon. And while veterans as a whole certainly don’t seek recognition, the service aims to provide an opportunity for them to get together under a common theme. It’s also a great event to instill a respect and appreciation of patriotism to the next generation.
Krueger recalls that each of the last three years he’s attended, the turnout has always gotten a little bit bigger. And with this year, Veterans Day falling on a Saturday, there’s no better time to bring the whole family downtown to recognize the service and contribution of these valued members of our community.