Last night was one of those experiences you just want to put in your pocket so that you can find it whenever you need to. It was a night filled with pride and humility, good and horrific memories, friends and strangers sharing an indescribable bond without the necessity of a word being spoken.
As I went from table to table refilling sweet tea I heard snippets of old and not so old war stories from World War II to Iraq and Desert Storm. There were moments of laughter and somber moments as experiences were shared.
We had about 155 attend our first-ever One Nation Under God dinner (instead of our lunches in the past) which is an event dedicated to honoring our military and clergy.
Each attending Veteran was asked to send us a photo of themselves in uniform which was converted to a presentation that ran all evening on the big screens.
The highlight without a doubt was our guest speaker Bill Lowrance. Bill Lowrance was one of three medics to survive the invasion of Omaha Beach and Okanowa. He drew a chart of the incredible layers of land mines, explosives and enemy combatants that they had to clear for the incoming American equipment. They buried American 9300 soldiers once they gained control.
The defining moment was when Bill described the bright white light of the Japanese plane, which had been painted white, that flew in to officially surrender. After a standing ovation the program ended with everyone in attendance grateful for the reminder of how so many have given their lives or risked their lives for our country. Another reminder of why I love living here in Mooresville, North Carolina.