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 Americahere. 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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