no fireworks, bands or bouncy houses during Pembroke’s July 4 celebration
Instead, organizers held a simple event at the J. Dixie Harn Center to honor six deceased service members with ties to Pembroke – Edwin Bradley, Navy; Jack Hutchinson, Navy; Thomas Mattingly, Army; Vincent Pecoraro Sr., Army, David Ussery, Army; and John Neidlinger, Navy.
The six were the latest men to have their names placed on the white crosses that serve as stands for the U.S. flags that fly on patriotic holidays on McEachin Square in downtown Pembroke.
Had it not been for the threat of a tropical storm in May, the five crosses and flags would’ve been dedicated in a more somber manner on Memorial Day by the organizers, Pembroke American Legion Post 164 and the city.
Instead, after opening remarks by retired 1st Sgt. Jesse France, the pledge and an invocation by Legion Post 164 Chaplain David Cone, veterans were honored and there was a speech from retired 1st Sgt. Harold Piet, who said the biggest threat facing the U.S. is its open borders.
He said the best way to keep the country strong and free is at the polls.
“Right now we have one party that wants open borders, and one party that wants no border,” he said. “The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, and that’s the good part of having two parties in Congress,” Piet said. “They should be able to work together instead of fighting all the time and be able to come to some kind of middle ground. Right now we don’t have that.”
Piet said that’s in large part because too many people don’t exercise their right to vote.
“I don’t care what your politics are or who you vote for, but vote,” he said.
More on this story in the July 12 print issue of the Bryan County News.