In the News – November 18-19, 2020

The book signing and purchase events and Taps Across America were covered in the local newspapers this week, and Norma Eckard presented to Southport Historical Society.

As always a big Thank you! to our valuable local media for continuing to publicize and support our efforts, and to Southport Historical Society for their support!

There are no plans for book signing and purchase events in the near future. As a reminder, click on Purchase a Book to choose a method convenient for you.

Comments Off on In the News – November 18-19, 2020

Filed under Honor a Veteran, In the News

Veterans Day 2020: Taps Across America


Last month, Dick Slease (in photo, on the right), president of Brunswick Bands, Inc., contacted Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range with a request. Dick wanted to organize a Taps Across America tribute at the rifle range on Veterans Day.

This was a continuation of the effort that began in May for Memorial Day. Because the pandemic caused the cancellation of commemorations, musicians were encouraged to play Taps wherever they stood at 3pm on Memorial Day. Across America, tens of thousands of soloists played Taps on porches, parking lots – wherever they were. According to CBS News (story link below), it was one of the largest musical performances of all time.

For Veterans Day, the musicians were urged to choose a World War I memorial. The Fort Caswell Rifle Range was the site chosen by local musician Dick Slease, Ben Edwards, the Director of Music and teacher at South Brunswick Middle School, and Alex Gilland, a student at South Brunswick High School

Before playing Taps, Dick made the following remarks:

Good morning and thank you for coming.

I’m Dick Slease, President of Brunswick Bands Inc., and joining me on this very special day is Ben Edwards, the Director of Music and teacher at South Brunswick Middle School and Alex Gilland who is a student at South Brunswick High School.

We are taking part in a nationwide event to honor those who served in all the armed forces which were necessary to the creation and defense of our country. This event is sponsored by Bugles Across America, an offshoot of Taps Across America, a nationwide conglomeration of brass instrumentalists who play Taps on their front porch at noon on Memorial Day in commemoration of those individuals whose lives were taken in the course of the defense of our country against enemies who only wanted to see our downfall.

Veterans Day, today, is the day that we honor all who served and successfully defended our nation.  The Great War was declared ended when an armistice was signed in Northern France at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That event gave birth to “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of Arlington National Cemetery’s new Memorial Amphitheater in March of 1921.

We are gathered here at the Ft. Caswell Rifle Pit to honor all veterans, but specifically the World War I veterans who served from Brunswick County, North Carolina.

Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand proudly while Taps is sounded.

You can now view the video here:

You can read and hear more about the Memorial Day Taps Across America here. In that story, Jari Villanueva was interviewed about his group, Taps for Veterans, which also sponsored the event. Mr. Villanueva’s website was used as the source for a photo of the trench bugle (pictured here) for our WWI Profile for William Ralph Smith. A donation was made to his website at that time.

At left, Norma Eckard, president of Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, lays the wreath at the rifle range. The wreath was made by her friend in West Virginia, Barbara Conway. Thank you, Barbara!

Thank you to Richard Stone for the photo of the musicians.

Comments Off on Veterans Day 2020: Taps Across America

Filed under Event, Honor a Veteran

Veterans Day 2020

The final Roll Call was planned to be held at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range today, completing two years of reciting the names of the 718 known Brunswick County WWI veterans.

The names of 14 Fort Caswell nurses were to be included.

Like many activities, the Roll Call will have to wait for safer times.

Stay tuned for photos and a touching tribute to veterans planned for today.

Read about previous Veteran Day commemorations:
2018 Veterans Day WWI Centennial Commemoration and Dedication
Veterans Day 2019: Continuing to Honor Those Who Served.

Comments Off on Veterans Day 2020

Filed under Event, Honor a Veteran

In the News – November 4-5, 2020

The book signing and purchase events were covered in the local newspapers this week, accompanied by several photos.

The Brunswick Beacon published Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range host book-signing event

Lee Hinnant from the State Port Pilot attended and covered the event in Great War book out; focuses on county

As always a big Thank you! to our valuable local media for continuing to publicize and support our efforts. And another Thank you! to Phyllis Wilson for the photos, most of which were used in the published stories.

A reminder that Brunswick Beacon continues to publish weekly WWI Profiles and Snapshots, an effort of over two years. We thank them for preserving the legacies of our WWI veterans.

These stories and the Brunswick Beacon’s weekly profiles can also be found by selecting the News section at the top of the website.

Newspaper articles courtesy of
The State Port Pilot
Brunswick Beacon

The next book signing and purchase event is scheduled this Saturday (November 7, 2020), noon – 3 pm at the Caswell Beach Town Hall. Read the previous post with details here or select the Events section at the top of the website.

Comments Off on In the News – November 4-5, 2020

Filed under Honor a Veteran, In the News

More books were sold at the second event. A third event has been added.

The second book signing and purchase was held on Saturday, October 31, 2020, at the Caswell Beach Town Hall. A number of supporters visited, including a special surprise by our publisher, Daniel Norris!

Teresa McLamb donated $500 to purchase books for 3 county high schools and 3 county libraries. Teresa is shown here with Norma as she picks up an additional book for Brunswick Community College. Teresa has also submitted a photo of an ancestor in his WWI uniform with his unit in what appears to be France. An entry will be added to our WWI Wall of Honor soon.

Daniel Norris, our publisher from Slapdash Publishing, visited for a long while, entertaining everyone with his stories and sharing his approach to the formatting of the book. Daniel said that he’s proud of his part in the making of the book. According to Daniel, “The stories of each soldier and nurse are wonderful to read. It will make you want to stand up and pledge allegiance to our great American flag and remember all those who have served to preserve our republic.” Thank you, Daniel! It was a pleasure to work with you!

We continue to hear from readers. We are particularly grateful to hear from those who discover ancestors through our research. One reader reached out to us, saying, “You cannot believe how much this has helped me in my family research.” Feedback like this has made the past nine years of work worthwhile.

We can’t thank everyone enough for sharing your stories and photos!

Weather permitting, there will be another book signing and purchase next Saturday, November 7, 2020,
from noon – 3 pm,
outside at the same location (see map below):
Caswell Beach Town Hall
1100 Caswell Beach Road
Caswell Beach, NC 28465

The plan to hold these events at various locations across Brunswick County has been placed on hold for now.

You may also purchase a book now by using this link, which is also at the top right of the webpage. We should point out that this is not a fundraiser. The price of the books was chosen to cover the publishing and printing costs.

Thank you to the DAR member Jane Freach who assisted, and Daniel Norris for sharing his photos.

Thank you to Caswell Beach Mayor Deborah Ahlers and Town Administrator/Finance Officer Jeff Griffin for allowing us to hold our event at the town hall.

Comments Off on More books were sold at the second event. A third event has been added.

Filed under Event, Honor a Veteran

Thank you to those who attended the first book signing!

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range was excited to hold the first book signing and purchase on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at the Caswell Beach Town Hall. We were pleased with the number of books sold and happy to meet new friends.

It is rewarding to hear from those who treasure this tribute to Brunswick County WWI veterans. This journey has been one we too will treasure: the opportunity to learn more about your courageous ancestors.

We were happy to have former military Jack Gowling, Jim Conklin, and Rich Romer be the first in line to purchase a book.

Trudy Young and daughter Marie stopped to visit and purchase books. Trudy’s great uncle John (Johan) Daniel Eriksen was born in Norway and immigrated to Southport when he was 14. He came from a family of 11 and left home to be a cabin boy on a ship. His parents told him he had to return home after two years to go to engineering school. He went back 30 years later to visit his mother. He served in the Great War with the newly formed 56th Engineers (Searchlight). From 1935 to 1949 he was the mayor of Southport. Trudy shared a great deal of information about her great uncle and the Friends appreciate her interesting facts. She lives in the home where her great uncle and his wife spent most of their lives. His profile is on page 300 in the book. You can read his WWI Profile on the website here.

We also met Kirk James, who was responsible for finding de-classified information about the building of the rifle range that may also be found in the book. We thank Kirk who bought and donated two hardback books for Harper and Barbee Public Libraries.

Thank you for sharing your stories and photos and thank you to those of you who continue to serve our country.

Weather permitting, there will be another book signing and purchase next Saturday, October 31, 2020,
from noon – 3 pm,
outside at the same location (see map below):
Caswell Beach Town Hall
1100 Caswell Beach Road
Caswell Beach, NC 28465

We are pursuing the possibility of holding these events at various locations across Brunswick County, and will update the website with details.

You may also purchase a book now by using this link, which is also at the top right of the webpage.

Thank you to the DAR members who assisted: Jane Freach, Mary Sands, and Phyllis Wilson who provided the photos here.

Thank you to Caswell Beach Mayor Deborah Ahlers and Town Administrator/Finance Officer Jeff Griffin for allowing us to hold our event at the town hall.

Comments Off on Thank you to those who attended the first book signing!

Filed under Event, Honor a Veteran

Brunswick County in the Great War arrives this week.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range is excited to announce the arrival of their book
Brunswick County in the Great War
Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Women Who Served.

Book signings and semi-drive-thru purchase

Book signings and semi-drive-thru purchase will be available during the next couple of Saturdays beginning
October 24, 2020, at the Caswell Beach Town Hall, 1100 Caswell Beach Road,
Caswell Beach, NC 28465, outside from noon-3:00 pm.

Masks and Social Distancing are the plan.

Comments Off on Brunswick County in the Great War arrives this week.

Filed under Announcement, Event, Honor a Veteran

A sneak peek: Brunswick County in the Great War

The past several months have been busy ones as we prepared our tribute to Brunswick County WWI veterans.

This photograph shows the hard copy proof of our book, Brunswick County in the Great War: Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Woman Who Served.

The book measures 8 1/2″ x 11″ and features 584 pages of large print, images, and photographs for easier reading.

A view of the pages with the US Army insignia and Table of Contents

The paperback price is $50 plus $6 shipping.

A hardcover version may be printed, based on demand.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of the book, contact
Norma Eckard at normaron@mindspring.com

Comments Off on A sneak peek: Brunswick County in the Great War

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran

Our tribute to Brunswick County WWI veterans is available for pre-order.

Brunswick County in the Great War

WWI altered our nation and completely transformed our corner of North Carolina forever. Fort Caswell, an integral part of the national effort to become battle ready, served men and women as they became soldiers and nurses and began their journey to war.

This book is the culmination of more than 9 years of research by Dr. Norma Eckard, her daughter Amy and husband Ronald. These stories were collected and curated from local families and individuals who still carry the memories of war. Their project began as an effort to preserve the history of the recently recognized 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, but it grew to also serve as a tribute to the soldiers and nurses who each had a connection to Fort Cawell. This book documents the sacrifices and triumphs that occur while serving their country during a time of war. Many of these stories have never been in print.

Brunswick County in the Great War is an important resource for anyone who loves local history. It is an accurate and colorful presentation of unbridled heroism, patriotism, and a deep love of family and nation. The spirit of these men and women still inspires us today.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of the book (584 pages), contact
Norma Eckard at normaron@mindspring.com

State Port Pilot news story published
July 8, 2020.

The paperback price is $50 plus $6 shipping.

A hardcover version may be printed, based on demand.

Comments Off on Our tribute to Brunswick County WWI veterans is available for pre-order.

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran

All Brunswick County WWI veterans have been honored

Our last Brunswick County WWI veterans have been honored.

We thank the community for the amazing support!

To see the veteran list with donors, go to the Donor page.

This list will appear in the book, Brunswick County in the Great War: Preserving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range and the Legacies of the Men and Women Who Served. If your name is listed and you would like to add your relationship to the veteran or just need to make a correction, please contact us soon, before the book is printed.

Thank you!

Comments Off on All Brunswick County WWI veterans have been honored

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran