Tropical Storm Alberto prompted a noticeable change to Pembroke’s annual Memorial Day observance.
Instead of 175 flags and crosses honoring veterans of all wars, there was only one – erected in commemoration of Marine Staff Sgt. Joel Dameron, the Bryan County High School graduate killed on Oct. 30, 2005, by an IED while in combat near Aminriyah, Iraq.
Ernie Mitchell, a retired Navy master chief and member of Pembroke American Legion Post 164, decided to scale back the observance this year.back the observance this year.
“Normally we erect the crosses and flags several days prior to Memorial Day,” Mitchell said in an email. “However, with the long-term rain cycle, I made the call to cancel. However, as a symbol of the sacrifice of those killed in action, I erected the one for the only Pembroke soldier who was killed in Iraq.”
Dameron was an explosive ordinance disposal technician, meaning he dealt with unexploded bombs. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the military.
He was married and had a son. Dameron is buried in Northside Cemetery in Pembroke.
Mitchell said most of those who took time to comment on the Pembroke American Legion Post 164’s Facebook page were positive, and included several from family members.
The post is planning to display the flags and have a ceremony on July 4.