Vietnam Veteran Eric Cantu during the ceremony.
Good morning and welcome to the Wall that Heals.
Our community is grateful to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for working with our local organizer and veteran Eric Cantu to bring this half-scale replica to this tranquil park.
For more than 10 years, I have gone to Washington DC during Memorial Day weekend to spend time with veterans and active members of our armed forces. But I’ve also gone to pay my respects to the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice, to lay down their life for a friend, for our nation and for freedom.
The first job I had out of college was given to me by a Vietnam Veteran and Green Beret Ted Sampley. Ted, although a lightning rod for many issues, never wavered in his commitment to bring our missing POWs and MIAs home from Vietnam.
His commitment and passion for this cause paved the way for men like Eric Cantu, who struggled with his decision to visit the Wall.
Before Ted passed, Eric promised him that he would indeed visit the Memorial in Washington DC.
I was with him that day and saw his transformation as he seemed released from the bondage of a soldier’s dreary heart.
So it is fitting that he was the one to bring this same Healing Wall to Kinston. Because a soldier’s call to duty is to serve. And that’s what this Wall is all about.
Another person who understands what it means to serve is the Honorable Paul Jones. Judge Jones is a retired Colonel in the US Army Reserves. He served as Staff Judge Advocate with the 108th Division IT in Charlotte, NC.
Colonel Jones is a native of Kinston and is a testimony to how hard work, determination and commitment to the Lord can bring to you a life of success.
Judge Jones was awarded the Army Commendational Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. He now serves us a Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in our area and resides in Kinston with his wife Edwina Link Jones.
Please welcome the Honorable Paul Jones.