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Veterans Day 2013

I wish to congratulate Polk County on having its first Veteran’s Day parade.

It is with strong mixed emotions that I make that statement. I live in Tryon Estates and therein lies the sadness, the hurt and the ill feelings.
Traditionally, Tryon Estates has conducted a Veterans Day ceremony on campus.
This ceremony consisted of resident veterans, guests and other invited individuals. The ceremony was held in front of the main entrance at the site of the National Emblem.
Subsequently, there was a short ‘parade’ and an excellent dinner served at 12:15 p.m.
This was a high attendance program, both in resident veterans and residents, and enjoyed by all.
The traditional ceremony was canceled. The Chairman of the Residential Ruling Board was not notified. This rude and unwanted change was apparently made behind closed doors.
These WWII, Korea and Vietnam Veterans put their lives on the line, losing many friends and family, defending the right of Americans to make such decisions. However, this brings to mind treatment received by returning Vietnam Veterans during that era.
There was a meeting held in which the parade was announced. Time was on a Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m.; normally a time of worship or the dinner hour. On Sundays there is no evening meal for residents, unless medically required.
Many residents leave the campus to dine or attend religious services. The estimated resident attendance, including non-veterans, was 20.
It is estimated that less than 20 percent of Tryon Estate veterans and their loved ones will participate in riding in golf carts or buses down NC Hwy 108 on Nov. 11. It is opined that the majority of said 20 percent will be employee veterans.
The conveniently timed 12:15 p.m. dinner was changed to 5:15 p.m. Tryon Estate veterans are definitely young at heart. However, they and most of their friends, are not young in years. Remember the “Korean Conflict” ended 60 years ago and WWII eight years before that.
Their elderly friends and family will be driving home after dark on a national holiday, should they attend – a well known time of dangerous road conditions for the elderly, not taking into account the excess use of alcoholic beverages on such holidays.
In my honest opinion, this change is detrimental to all resident veterans at Tryon Estates.
To add insult to injury, the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps is Nov. 10.
Again traditionally, Marines at Tryon Estates gathered for a small ceremony that is part of a worldwide celebration. Unfortunately, our Marines were required to change the date to Nov. 9.
I am certain that had Maj. Gen. Livingston USMC (Ret), a true American hero, known what was happening, he may have had second thoughts.
– George Sims, Major USMC (Ret) Tryon Estates

Editor’s note: The Bulletin contacted Tryon Estates Director Nancy McKinistry for comment. McKinistry said Tryon Estates moved its veterans ceremony to the early evening so all veterans and residents could attend the community parade and ceremony.