LUMBERTON — If you’re not hitting the beach this Memorial Day weekend, there are several local options to help you enjoy the holiday.
Fairmont kicks off its festivities at 7 a.m. Monday with a sidewalk sale in the downtown area. Mayor Charles Kemp said that at least a half-dozen vendors will be on hand, and some stores will open early.
There will be a ceremony at noon in the Heritage Center that will feature the JROTC cadets from Fairmont High School. Sgt. Maj. Tevin Marshall will read some Memorial Day poems, and Toni Grimsley, a former Army nurse who lives in Fairmont, will deliver a keynote address on the sacrifices made by men and women in the military in past wars, Kemp said.
Little American flags and commemorative poppies will be passed out to attendees.
The Stackhouse Family of Fairmont will hold its traditional motorized parade down Main Street. This tradition began six years ago when the family held an annual family reunion. In recent years, the parade has grown to dozens of units, including vans, cars and motorcycles.
“It’s grown each year,” Kemp said. “I’m very proud to be the organizer for the Memorial Day ceremony. We as a nation must be grateful for those who offered their services and in some cases their lives for this nation.”
A service in St. Pauls will begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the St. Pauls War Memorial. During the ceremony, members of the North Carolina National Guard will lay a wreath in honor of fallen soldiers.
The speaker this year will be Maj. Matthew Hash, who is serving as operations officer at the XVIII Airborne Marine Corps G7 in Fort Bragg. Hash has been on active duty for 15 years, including three deployments to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
The service will conclude with the playing of Taps. Following the service there will be light refreshments provided by McNeil Mackie Funeral Home.
The Lumbee Tribe at 2 p.m. on Monday will honor Army Corp. James Oxendine, who was injured during the Korean War in September 1950. The ceremony will be at the Lumbee Lodge in Pembroke.
Oxendine watched several of his fellow soldiers die during a barrage of enemy fire while in Korea, and lay injured for three days before medics could help him, according to a release. He will receive the Purple Heart more than 60 years later with the help of U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre and the Lumbee Warrior Association.
According to Ronnie Brooks, tribal veteran service officer, Oxendine’s command in Korea was assigned to an Australian company. After the accident, the Australian military never submitted the paperwork regarding Oxendine’s injury to the U.S. military, Brooks said.
The matter was brought to the tribe about six weeks ago by Chairman Paul Brooks, he said. The tribe then brought it to the attention of McIntyre and Congressman Larry Kissell.
Rounding out the festivities will be the Lumberton chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, which will have a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Monday behind the Robeson County Public Library in Lumberton. Veteran Gary Deese will be the guest speaker during what is expected to be a 30-minute service.