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Banquet honors North Carolina’s warriors

Elwood Burnette, Purple Heart honoree, walks under a sabre salute tunnel during a Purple Heart Banquet and Ceremony at the Maxwell Center Goldsboro, North Carolina, Aug. 3, 2018. The Purple Heart ceremony is conducted to honor Purple Heart recipients, Gold Star families and post-military deceased veteran’s families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield)

Chester Wilt, Purple Heart honoree, cuts the Purple Heart cake as the oldest member at the ceremony as Andrew Jones, Purple Heart honoree, looks on as the youngest member during a Purple Heart Banquet and Ceremony at the Maxwell Center Goldsboro, North Carolina, Aug. 3, 2018. The cutting of the Purple Heart cake is a ceremony honoring the longevity of the medal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield)


Fifty eight veterans from across the services were honored for their sacrifices that awarded them the Purple Heart while protecting American values and way of life during a banquet and ceremony Aug 3, 2018, at the Maxwell Center in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

The quote by Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” summed up the night as 438 family members and friends gathered to give thanks to service of a few warriors.

The night started with a walk of honor where the honorees had their names called and a summary of the conflict they served in and the number of medals they received was read to the audience. Moreover for some the journey to this moment was hard fought.

“It’s one the greatest feelings you can have being honored at an event like this,” said Samuel E. Dixon, Purple Heart recipient. “Coming back from Vietnam, we were disrespected because the American people didn’t understand what we were doing there. However, here, you can feel that things have changed and that service members returning home don’t have go through what we did.”

The outward expression of respect and honor continued with remarks from guest speakers, to include an emotional speech from the night’s keynote speaker, Col. Donn Yates, 4th Fighter Wing commander. In his speech, he commented on sacrifices he has witnessed and drove home that “So much owed by so many to so few.”

The evening concluded with the reading of a joint proclamation by Bill Pate, Wayne County Board of Commissioners chairman and David Ham, City of Goldsboro mayor pro tem.

 Moreover, it took a team of likeminded members to coordinate and execute an event of this magnitude to ensure that all honors were bestowed.

“It took a dedicated team that was in tune with the needs of our honorees,” said Bill Graham, Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition Incorporated chief executive officer and Wayne Purple Heart Foundation chairman. “I’m a Vietnam veteran myself but, I didn’t suffer the wounds of war that some of these guys have. It was a real honor to recognize them and give them the honor that they deserve.”

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