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Ceremony honors, remembers sacrifices made by veterans

Posted: November 12, 2010 4:40 p.m.
Updated: November 15, 2010 5:00 a.m.
Trevor Baratko/C-I

Kershaw County’s fallen soldiers were honored during Thursday’s Veterans Day ceremony at American Legion Post 17 in Camden. While JROTC units stood at attention, members of the auxiliaries of Posts 17 and 203 and VFW Post 5928 affixed American flags on memorial crosses.

Speaking during Thursday’s Veterans Day observance at the James Leroy Belk American Legion Post 17 home in Camden, Col. Robert G. Young said America is likely to see decades of “persistent conflict.”

Young is strategic plans officer, U.S. Army Central Command, in Kabul, Afghanistan. The three-decade military man said globalization, technology, population growth paired with limited resources and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are significant factors that will shape conflicts in the coming years.

Young estimated there are more than 1,100 extremist groups looking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. He contrasted the clashes of today this with wars comparable to World War I and World War II, saying the “face of conflict will change” often.

Young urged young men and women -- including those on hand with the JROTC groups from North Central High School, Camden Military Academy and the Continuous Learning Center of Kershaw County and the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice’s Birchwood High School -- to continue serving their country and fighting for freedom and U.S. citizens. 

“We are fortunate to have veterans who have served and sacrificed for the common good,” said Young, who has been awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and numerous other honors.

Young also gave a briefing on the consolidation of the Third Army at Ft. McPherson Ga., to Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter, for which he served as the integration branch chief. In order to relocate Third Army, Young said, several new facilities are being built or expanded at Shaw, with the first phase costing approximately $93 million.

When the transfer is complete by September 2011, it will include approximately 1,200 soldiers, 100 civilians, 150 contractors and their families, Young said, which is estimated to generate a yearly economic increase of nearly $119 million in salaries alone.

“We are excited about moving to Shaw, we appreciate the tremendous welcome and support we have received thus far, and we are confident this is the beginning of a great future,” Young said.

In keeping with tradition, Thursday’s ceremony was held on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., which is the date and time of the armistice signing that signaled the end of World War I.

Approximately 100 people turned out for the event, many of whom were veterans donning the cap, shirt or jacket of their branch affiliation.

Maj. W. Ashby Rhame, past Post 17 commander, served as master of ceremonies, which returned to an outside setting after weather forced last year’s ceremony indoors. The program was sponsored by American Legion posts 17 and 203 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 5928.

Rhame recognized S.C. Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk, Kershaw County Sheriff-elect Jim Matthews and Camden Mayor Jeffrey Graham in the audience.

Additional segments of the program included a reading of the poem “No, Freedom Isn’t Free,” an honor roll reading of the names of fallen Kershaw County soldiers, and a playing of TAPS by the North Central band.

Featured guests also included Kershaw County School District Superintendant Dr. Frank Morgan, current Post 17 Commander Given Webster, Clay Carruth of Post 17 and Jasper Boswell of Post 203 and Rev. John E. Johnson of Post 203.

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