“Welcome Home” Celebration in Fayetteville, NC Gains Momentum as Veterans Day Weekend Approaches
Fayetteville, NC – November 10, 2011 – On a cold, rainy morning this past Friday, hundreds of people, the majority of whom were Vietnam War veterans, turned out for the opening ceremony of Heroes Homecoming in Fayetteville, NC. The ceremony, which was relocated indoors to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM) due to weather, officially kicked off a commemoration that has been more than 30 years in the making. Heroes Homecoming is a 60-event, 10-day celebration honoring and paying tribute to Vietnam vets. The celebration will continue throughout the week in the days leading up to Veterans Day 2011.
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Event organizers have heard from Vietnam veterans from across the country – and even outside of the U.S. – who are planning on traveling to Fayetteville to take part in Heroes Homecoming. Vietnam veterans are noticeable as they arrive to town in large numbers, wearing t-shirts and baseball caps that proudly display their service. One Vietnam veteran in attendance at Friday’s opening ceremony described this long overdue welcome home as “a dream come true.”
Several events took place this past weekend following the opening ceremony, including the Heroes Crusade sporting tournament. The goal of the three-day event, which included a golf tournament, Fallen Warrior Rugby Tournament and run/walk/bike, was to raise awareness and funds for wounded warriors. Nearly 500 athletes participated in the tournament, raising $12,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, Green Beret Foundation, RDU AMBUCS and Ride 2 Recovery.
The Vietnam Wall Traveling Memorial arrived in Fayetteville at the end of the Heroes Crusade bike ride. The memorial is a half-sized replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the country for more than 20 years. The wall was escorted into its position at the ASOM by the Rolling Thunder, who will also provide around the clock security while the wall is in town. The wall is open to the public 24/7 until noon on Monday, November 14.
Excitement surrounding Heroes Homecoming will continue to build with the arrival of Adrian Cronauer on Thursday, November 10. Cronauer is the inspiration behind the movie Good Morning, Vietnam and is the spokesperson for the event. Cronauer, who has dedicated a significant portion of his life to serving his fellow veterans, has spent the past several months making sure each and every Vietnam vet knows about Heroes Homecoming, so they can finally get the welcome home they deserve. He will participate in select Heroes Homecoming events while in town, including introducing a showing of his movie as part of the ASOM Film Festival on Friday, November 11; and taking part in the Veterans Day Parade and acting as emcee for the USO of NC Variety Show on Saturday, November 12.
The Veterans Day Parade, which will take place on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., will be the most visible of all the Heroes Homecoming events. The parade is the perfect opportunity for the entire community to come together in a public display of support and finally say ‘thank you’ to these deserving vets. All Vietnam vets are invited to take part by marching in the parade.
“We weren’t heroes and didn’t expect to be treated as heroes when we came home, but a simple ‘thank you’ would have been nice,” said Vietnam veteran and Heroes Homecoming committee member Bob Graveen. “That’s why Heroes Homecoming is such a big deal after all this time.”
Vietnam vets attending Heroes Homecoming are invited to check in at the event welcome center, which is located inside Freedom Memorial Park at the corner of Hay Street and Bragg Boulevard. Visitors can pick up event brochures and other information from the welcome center, which will be staffed with volunteers from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day.
Heroes Homecoming is being held in partnership with the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and is presented by WRAL-TV. For more information on Heroes Homecoming, visit www.HeroesHomecoming.com.
About Heroes Homecoming:As America’s First Military Sanctuary Community, Fayetteville/Cumberland County is giving brave Vietnam veterans the welcome home they deserve. The community will host Heroes Homecoming – the biggest commemoration/reunion of its kind – for the 10 days leading up to Veterans Day 2011. The event series will feature celebrations, discussions, fellowship and memories for all those who attend. Heroes Homecoming is Fayetteville/Cumberland County’s way of showing all Vietnam veterans that we remember and appreciate their courage, their sacrifice and everything they’ve done to defend our freedom – now and forever.
About the FACVB:The Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, not-for-profit organization responsible for positioning Fayetteville/Cumberland County as a destination for conventions, sporting events and individual travel. For additional information, visit www.visitfayettevillenc.com or call 1-800-255-8217. Fayetteville/Cumberland County is America's first military sanctuary. Through the Army's Army and other volunteer groups, our citizens and businesses are dedicated to “watching over those who watch over us ©.”