SMSgt. Charles Santrock, who died July 24, was honored during Saturday’s Veterans’ Day Ceremony at the Franklin County Veterans’ Memorial Park.
Monday, November 12, 2012
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
For the first time in many years, a familiar face was missing from the Veterans' Day Ceremony at the Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Park Saturday morning.
That face was SMSgt. Charles Santrock, a charter member of the Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Commission and longtime member of the American Legion Post 6.
Santrock, a career military man who served in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years with tours in Korea and Vietnam, lost his long battle with cancer on July 24.
B.W. Wright Jr., chairman of Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Commission, called Santrock "a cornerstone of (American Legion) Post 6 for many years."
During Saturday's ceremony, Wright presented a dozen roses to Santrock's wife, Peggy, "as a token of our appreciation for his service to Franklin County and to the Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Park."
Speaking at Saturday's ceremony was Sgt. Channing Lynch, U.S. Army (Ret.), a native of Franklin County who served two tours in Iraq, and Lt. Col. Tracey Carter, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), instructor for the Franklin County High School Jr. ROTC program.
"Veterans should be respected and highly regarded more so than sports teams and the Hollywood movie stars because these Americans have lived and died to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy," said Lynch. "It doesn't matter what everybody thinks about why we are overseas."
"What matters to the veterans is that we are there, and we want to get out alive and bring everybody home," he added. "I have the utmost respect for all the veterans and their families."
Franklin County High School Air Force Jr. ROTC cadets presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
After the placing of the wreath by SSgt. Harry Coates, a 90-year-old WWII veteran, The Wright Kids sang the National Anthem, and Pastor Ron Coleman of Henry Fork Church of the Brethren gave the opening prayer and spoke on the reason for Veteran's Day.
"We come here today to honor our veterans and to show some appreciation for their sacrifice for us," he said. "We pray for all those who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror. We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives in wars and conflicts, past and present, have been given and taken away."
Charles Wagner, Rocky Mount Supervisor and a member of the veterans' commission, thanked the community and the town for their support and hard work in making sure that Franklin County had a memorial for its veterans.
"It's an honor to be a part of a park that we are so proud of," he said. "We found out that Franklin County was one of the few counties that didn't have some type of memorial for their veterans."
"Now that we have this, we found out that a lot of folks envy us because they don't have anything in comparison to what we have here today," Wagner said.
In closing, Wright thanked all veterans for their sacrifices and contributions.
The benediction was given by Pastor Eddie Hawks of Woodlawn Baptist Church, who quoted John Fitzgerald Kennedy, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
The program ended with a rendition of "Taps" played by Emily Meeks of the Franklin County High School Eagle Band.
After the ceremony, veterans, along with their families and friends, were invited to a luncheon in their honor at Woodlawn Baptist Church.