The Johnston County Veterans Council held a special Memorial Day Ceremony Monday morning at the Johnston County Courthouse in Downtown Smithfield. Attendance was down this year compared to previous years, however the ceremony was memorable.
Johnston County Commissioner and US Army and National Guard Veteran Ted Godwin welcomed those in attendance. Rudy Baker, US Army Veteran and President of the Johnston County Veterans Services Advisory Board introduced Senator Rabin.
NC Senator Ronald J. Rabin, who represents District 12, which includes portions of Johnston, Harnett and Lee counties, and is a Retired US Army Colonel was the guest speaker.
Rabin said Memorial Day is commonly thought of as a time for summer vacation or car races but the day has a much deeper meaning. It is a time to show respect to those who died fighting enemies of this country. Rabin said we should remember the sacrifice men and women have given to our flag for our freedoms. “A soldier fights for his country regardless of the cause. ”
Senator Rabin said there is a current assault underway on military monuments, flags and the cross. He said we have step up to defend those trying to erase history. Rabin said you may be able to destroy the monuments but you cannot destroy the events of history.
“Patriotism and the love of country is not genetic, it is learned. Who is teaching that today?” he asked. Rabin said our country is under attack today, both foreign and domestic. He said it was time for Americans to unite to protect our freedoms and values. “If you don’t want to be an American why the heck are you here to begin with,” he told the audience, adding that citizens should not tolerate lawmakers making a mockery of our democracy.
Touching on the increased numbers of violent acts in schools and public places, Senator Rabin said people have turned it into an attack on the Second Amendment. “They are playing politics with our children and attempting to silence free speech due to political correctness.” he said, adding “Hopefully that will change.”
Rabin said it was important to talk to others, even those we disagree with, about our differences. “If you can’t talk about a problem how are you going to solve it?”
He also touched on those wanting open borders with neighboring countries. “If you don’t have a border you don’t have a nation.”
“Patriotism is a disappearing value. It is learned. It is not genetic. Children are learning about socialism but not patriotism.”
Rabin encouraged veterans and those who love this country to speak out against “revision historians” who are attempting to erase the history of American. If we don’t Rabin said, “Our past battles will be lost. Veterans, patriots and voting Americans must take up the fight.”
At the conclusion of Senator Rabin’s speech, a Wreath Laying Ceremony was held to remember those who gave all. American Legion Post 346 of Four Oaks held a 21 gun salute. Afterwards, TAPS was played by Reggie Parker from Post 346. Devell “Bull” Durham, Past Commander of American Legion Post 71 in Clayton and a Gulf War Veteran, gave the opening Invocation and Benediction.
A number of dignitaries were on hand for the event including Lt. Governor Dan Forest, Congressman David Rouzer, Rep. Larry Strickland, Rep. Donna White, County Commissioner Larry Wood, County Commissioner Lee Jackson, Register of Deeds Craig Olive and Clerk of Court Michelle Ball.