Franklin Turns Out to Honor Veterans

A large crowd of veterans and local citizens gathered downtown Saturday for the annual Veterans Day celebration hosted by the Town of Franklin and Macon County. This year’s celebration, recognizing those who have served or are serving for our country, featured the annual parade downtown Main Street as well as a musical celebration at the gazebo on the square.

The parade featured special banners carried by local Scouts and followed by groups of veterans according to the war or time period of service. Once again, the award-winning Franklin High School Marching Panther Regiment marched in the parade.

Franklin Town Mayor Bob Scott welcomed the crowd to what he deemed “the finest Veterans Day celebration in North Carolina and the United States.” Veteran Bob Litten lead the crowd in the invocation. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Rabun Gap Student Meg Bruner sang the National Anthem and Scott presented a history of Veterans Day.

Macon County Commissioners Gary Shields served as the emcee for the celebration which featured many musical tributes to the veterans including performances by the Franklin High School B Naturals and Marching Panther Regiment, Blue Ridge and the White Sisters.

The local trio, the White Sisters sang “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” “Fallen, but not Forgotten,” and “Under God.” The local Southern gospel group Blue Ridge sang “One Nation” and “God Bless the USA.”

Students from Franklin High School shared their musical talents in the Veterans Day celebration. Under the direction of Robert Jessup, the FHS B Naturals sang “In Flanders Field.” The FHS Marching Panther Regiment was a crowd favorite and under the direction of Buddy Huckabee treated the crowd to a patriotic mini concert featuring “Armed Forces Medley.” During the band’s performance, veterans were asked to stand and salute when their branch of service was recognized.

“Thank you for your service, thank you for everything you do within our communities,” said Shields as he recognized the veterans in the crowd. “In service to America is very important for all of us, we as veterans know just how important it is.”

Attending this year’s Veterans Day celebration including several local government officials including Franklin Town Council Members Barbara McRae and Joe Collins, Macon County Commissioners Ronnie Beale, Paul Higdon and Karl Gillespie, Franklin Town Manager Summer Woodard and Macon County Manager Derek Roland. Special guests included NC House of Representative Kevin Corbin and Majority Whip of the NC House of Representatives Jon Hardister.

The ceremony concluded with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars traditional wreath laying ceremony followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.” Following the Veterans Day celebration, the veterans and their families were treated to a lunch at the VFW Post 7339.