HAMLET — Richmond Community College held its first Our Heroes’ Tree program in the Cole Auditorium on Monday, to honor veterans and those serving in the Armed Forces.
The program consisted of an overview of what the tree represents, a military medley in which veterans and service members stood when they recognized the songs of the branches in which they had served, brief tributes during which several ornaments were hung on the tree, and songs including the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
“I really like what this reflects,” said Sheri Dunn-Ramsay, dean of effectiveness at Richmond Community College. “I just think it’s a way to pay tribute and honor everyone’s story.”
Founded by Stephanie Pickup and Marlene Lee in 2005, Our Heroes’ Tree is a national initiative that bridges military and civilian communities by honoring the service and sacrifice of U.S. service members and their families. Participants can create or bring in ornaments to hang on the tree for display.
After the program, Eugene McIntyre of Ellerbe sat at one of the tables to make an ornament in honor of his friends and relatives who have served.
“I have about eight or nine different names,” McIntyre said as he glued white stars onto a blue flag. “I’m just putting stars on (the flag) with their names on it.”
McIntyre, who said he was an Air Force medic for four years, remembering how he’d tape up the wounded and send them back on the road.
“It’s a wonderful event for all the veterans that served in all branches,” he said. “I hope we get more participation next time.”
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4203 AuxiliaryPresident Robin Roberts also hung up ornaments in honor of her family members, saying that she hoped the tree would be around for many more years.
“It’s all about our heroes today,” she said.
And retired Lt. Col. Jon Ring agreed that the tree was a good tradition to introduce to the community as he hung several ornaments himself in honor of his five children, and his daughter and son-in-law.
“I hope this opens people’s eyes to the veterans around them,” saidRing. “There are so many veterans from all different walks of life, and that’s what brings out the identity in a community. I’m happy and proud to be part of it.”
The tree will stand on display in the Cole Auditorium lobby until Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Reach Jasmine Hager at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]