Davidson Honors Veterans on Their Special Day
Bedecked in ball caps, monogrammed with colorful unit insignia and holding American flags, a large crowd of armed forces veterans and members of the public gathered on a chilly, sunny Saturday morning to honor the service the vets expended to keep America free.
Event planner, Davidson Mayor John Woods, a veteran himself who suffered a brother killed in the Vietnam War, greeted the crowd and introduced participants. The speakers and performers included the Hough High School Wind Ensemble, the Hough High Junior ROTC, the Davidson College Delilahs a cappella group, police detective and armed forces veteran Vernon Siders, Town commissioner Jim Fuller and Davidson resident Trudy Crosby.
Professor emeritus Sam Maloney, a World War II bomber pilot in the Pacific theatre, introduced the event’s keynote speaker, Navy retiree Captain Robert B Cameron. Cameron was a Davidson College graduate who served on active duty from 1967 to 1994. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, then flew in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean as an instructor pilot. He served also in the Pentagon, the Naval Air Systems Command, and the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. After retiring from the Navy, he enjoyed a second career with FedEx, hiring and managing planes overseas, where FedEx did not use its own fleet. He and his wife, Deb, moved to Davidson in 2010.
Captain Cameron, resplendent in his dress uniform, began by stating, “It wouldn’t be a military speech without numbers, would it?” He then delivered a history lesson detailing the number of members of the armed forces since the Revolutionary War. He noted that just 6/10 of one percent of American citizens serve in the armed forces, and said that small number of is stretched by the nation’s commitment in several theaters around the world. He said, “Today’s service men and women are serving more frequent deployments, spending more time away from their families, and having less time at home in peace time.”
He closed with advice he received from a Navy SEAL, who called on civilians to take a lesson from members of the armed forces and begin each day by simply “making up their beds.” Completing that small, initial task will lead to achievement of a second, then third, and further tasks. All veterans share the mundane experience of making up the bed at the start of the day, Cameron said. But it pays dividends later when they are called upon to tackle more serious tasks, including battle.
He concluded by saying, “I’m proud to share the importance of attending to the little things with this ‘happy band of brothers (and now sisters),’ as Shakespeare called them. Let’s reflect today on the service of 240 years of veterans whose work has enabled us to gather here in Davidson, free to disagree with each other, and even to criticize our government, and most of all, to live life in this wonderful country.”
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.