USPHS officers join Veterans Day parade
By Josef Rivero, Alnissa Carter, and Christine Fallon
The state of North Carolina held its annual Veterans Day parade Nov. 10 in Raleigh. This year’s theme, “Welcome Home Iraqi War Veterans,” brought together a wide range of veterans, from active-duty service members of the Fort Bragg 50th Signal Battalion to Veterans of Foreign Wars.
For the first time in the history of the parade, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps officers, from various operating divisions in North Carolina, were invited to participate. USPHS officers from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Butner Federal Correctional Complex, Womack Army Medical Center, and NIEHS joined the celebration. The distinguished USPHS Honor Guard led the contingent through the parade route.
Parade attendees were greeted by a host of service organizations and youth programs, including the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Capital City Young Marines, Military Order of the Purple Heart, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and numerous local high school Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) units. The officials of the parade included N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue, U.S. Rep. David Price, U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.
Assistant U.S. Surgeon General Rear Adm. William Stokes, D.V.M., from NIEHS, joined parade officials on the reviewing stand and participated as a guest speaker during the ceremony. In his remarks, Stokes thanked and honored all veterans and their families, including the hundreds of veterans who now serve on active duty in the USPHS Commissioned Corps. Immediately following the parade, the wreath-laying ceremony commenced with the presentation of colors by the Sanderson High School Air Force Junior ROTC, followed by the singing of the national anthem.