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LAND OF THE FREE – We owe it to YOU, Veterans!!

Veterans Day is the time to remember those who have sacrificed so much to protect our country and our freedom. Veterans Day gives us an opportunity to pay tribute and sincere appreciation to the people who have ensured the liberties we cherish as American citizens. Charlotte supports our men and women of the Armed Forces through many organizations and services who deserve public acknowledgement on Veterans Day. Opportunities of praise and celebration for our Vets will be available throughout the Charlotte area November 9-11.

A Wreath Laying Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 9, 2012 11:45 a.m. at The Square in Uptown Charlotte. In a solemn ceremony, the Carolinas Freedom Foundation will conduct a wreath laying ceremony to correspond with the signing of the WWI Armistice or end of the War, which was held on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Today, this ceremony honors veterans of all wars who died defending

On a lighter note for Friday, you can head to the “Cable Box” (aka Time Warner Arena) to join the Charlotte Checkers hockey team host Military Appreciation Night!  They are asking everyone to bring travel-sized toiletries to donate to the USO.  Game time 7pm vs. opponent the Peoria Rivermen!

On November 10, 2012 watch and cheer at The Charlotte Veteran’s Day Parade.US Airways will sponsor the 2012 Salute to Veterans Parade at 11 Uptown Charlotte. The parade begins at 700 North Tryon St and ends at 600 South Tryon St.

In honor of Veterans Day, the Festival Singers showcase their beautiful voices with an uplifting and sentimental musical journey through the very heart and soul of our American national heritage. Audiences will hear great patriotic standards, such as America the Beautiful, This Land is Your Land, and The Battle Hymn of the Republic as well as moving renditions of Song for the Unsung Hero by Joseph Martin and excerpts from The Armed Man: a Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins. Special guests include Carolina Men’s Chorus and Sound About. There will be two performances:  Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:30pm, Providence Baptist Church, 4921 Randolph Road, Charlotte, NC 28211 and Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3:30pm, Central United Methodist Church, 30 Union Street North, Concord, NC 28025.

On Sunday, November 11 at 1:00 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium is another all-American sporting event – Carolina Panthers football  They too will be hosting a Military Appreciation Day which is always moving and wonderfully done.

Also on Sunday, at 3:00 p.m., families can enjoy the story of Charlotte’s Camp Greene, the World War I installation that drew thousands of people to tiny Charlotte 1917 – 1918.Filmmaker Jack Dillard will discuss his work, and Jane Johnson of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Carolina Room will present an extensive display of Camp Greene memorabilia. The program will take place at the historic Duke Mansion, 400 Hermitage Road in Myers Park. Part of the ongoing series Explore History! Sponsored by Levine Museum and the Duke Mansion. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To reserve your spot, email or call 704/714-4448.

And finally, if you’d prefer to quietly reflect on our nation’s veterans, visit the Mecklenburg County Vietnam Veterans Memorial 1129 E 3rd St in Charlotte. The Memorial is now accessible from the Sugar Creek Greenway in uptown Charlotte.  Visit the memorial and walk the 270-foot granite arc while reading the historical timeline; view a map of Southeast Asia during the war; honor the names of those from Mecklenburg County who died; experience the war through the poems of a Vietnam veteran; and, pause to reflect at the American and POW/MIA flags.

Charlotte citizens have a time-honored tradition of honoring those who have served to protect our country. Whether it is singing, cheering or quiet thanks, Charlotteans have the opportunity to recognize and honor our veterans.  God bless America, and God bless our Vets.