May 4 marked a historic day for the Town of Garner. Years of planning, support and fundraisers culminated at the Garner Veterans Memorial dedication ceremony.
Despite the cold temperature, the threat of rain and strong winds around 500 guests made it out to support Garner’s veterans.
The ceremony was filled with emotional speeches and heartfelt applause for not only Garner’s veterans, but all of America’s veterans.
Keynote speaker for the Dedication Ceremony was Anthony J. Tata.
According to Tata, this memorial “conveys the rich history of our country and this town.”
The Garner Veterans Memorial brings together “adults and children interacting and learning the rich heritage of Garner,” Tata said.
Tata concluded by stating that Garner is “one of the best towns in America. This is a timeless memorial that will stand forever.”
Currently Tata serves as the Secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation. Previously, Tata served as the Superintendent of the Wake County Public School System.
Tata is a retired brigadier general of the U.S. Army. His last combat tour was in Afghanistan from 2006-2007 where he served as the Deputy Commanding General of U.S. forces.
Tata served two tours of duty in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, as well as serving as brigade commander in the 101st Airborne Division and the Deputy Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division.
He has been awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star, and is a distinguished member of several Parachute Infantry Regiments.
The presentation, posting and retirement of the Colors was performed by the Color Guard of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry.
The Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry is the oldest operating militia unit in the south and the second oldest unit in the nation that has been operating continuously.
The invocation was given by Dr. Harvey Whaley, the senior pastor at Aversboro Road Baptist Church.
He began by saying that the memorial was meant to remember and honor “the guardians of peace, the heroes of war.”
Whaley ended with a plea for all Americans to “be grateful to all who have served.”
During the day’s events many of the speakers congratulated the Town of Garner for their dedication to this project.
“Garner, you did well,” said Mayor Ronnie Williams. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Sgt. 1st Class David R. Reid, Sr. along with his wife and children.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by Dana Stephenson.