Veterans Day 2020, Mayor’s Remarks
Veterans Day, a time when our country collectively consecrates the courage and commitment of the men and women who served in our armed forces, a day we stand united in saluting our Veterans. First celebrated as Armistice Day, the day that marked the end of World War I that was formally and famously recognized on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” in 1918.
Southport and the surrounding community have long traditions of military service and many veterans have chosen to retire in our area. As Mayor of Southport, I salute all veterans for their service to our country, their unyielding patriotism, and the unselfish sacrifice they and their families have made and continue to make. However, for this Veterans Day, I would like to pay special tribute to some of our older Southport natives who have served.
I begin with that first Armistice Day in 1918, when Dr. J. Arthur Dosher, who served with the American Expeditionary Forces in France in 1917, as a surgeon, was able to begin the long journey home. No small achievement during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.
During World War II, Southport men answered the call, including Afton Smith, Reese Swann, and 96 year old Ozen “Son” Carrier, who is still with us today and served on the USS Indiana where he is known as a “plank owner” of this battleship.
The Southport High School Class of 1951, had a number of young men to sign up for military service during the Korean War. These boys graduated on a Friday in May and then on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the next week, they were in Raleigh to take the oath to join the Navy and from there, took a train to boot camp. Ronnie “Norton” Hood, Billy “Sardina” Dosher, Albert “Abbie” Dosher, Harold “Gum Stump” Spencer, Arthur Danvis “Danny” Harrelson, Jr., Boyce Spencer, and my father in law, Elliott “Sonny” Hickman. These young men were not to have a summer of fishing and swimming but were off to defend our country. “Sonny” Hickman, after taking the oath in Raleigh, caught a train with his Southport classmate, Bobby Cullis, and then were off to boot camp at the United States Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Maryland. Three left on Monday, three left on Tuesday, and two left their youthful lives and beloved Southport on Wednesday, leaving behind family and friends and the quaint, peaceful, fishing village, the only world that they had ever known, to fight in the Korean War.
The tradition of service continued during the Vietnam War, where Citadel graduate, Paul Fisher, an army veteran, fighting in the jungles of Asia, and Robert Potter, serving as a Navy diver on a submarine off the coast of Vietnam.
It is with much admiration and respect that I salute these brave men, Sons of Southport, who when the call for duty to serve their country, they did not hesitate. May God bless them and all veterans who answered the call of duty, honor, and country.
I would like to thank the Southport Lions Club for displaying the American Flag in honor of all veterans.