Hundreds of people celebrated Memorial Day with HARRY

Photo by Tevin Stinson- Retired Air Force Veteran Dr. Sylvester Caraway Jr. salutes during the national anthem.

Hundreds of people celebrated Memorial Day with HARRY
June 01
05:00 2017

Hundreds of people helped HARRY Veterans Community Outreach Services celebrate fallen service men and women earlier this week when the nonprofit organization that offers countless services for veterans hosted the ninth annual Memorial Day Commemoration and Picnic. 

This year’s celebration held at Bolton Park featured live music, fun and games for children, free food and prize giveaways. The Winston-Salem State University Rams Know HOW (Healthcare on Wheels) was there giving free checkups.

To jumpstart the celebration, North Forsyth High School JROTC and members of the Buffalo Soldiers 9th & 10th Horse Calvary Association presented the colors.

Next, several local and state elected officials took to the stage to commemorate the lives of men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe.

Mayor Allen Joines said, “As the saying goes, freedom really isn’t free. These men and women paid the price for us to have the freedom to enjoy our lives.”

State Sen. Paul Lowe Jr., whose wife served in the U.S. Air Force, said he and his colleagues in Raleigh are working tirelessly to ensure veterans are taken care of when they return from active duty. He also applauded HARRY for all the work the organization does in the community. 

 “We’re doing everything in our power to make life better for our veterans,” he said. “This is a great program. It’s good to see so many people support our veterans who are in need.”

While enjoying a burger fresh off the grill, Army veteran Wayne Simpson took a moment to reflect on his time spent with the 82nd Airborne Division. Simpson, a native of New York, said serving in the Army taught him to be a more patient and trusting person.  

“When you’re in battle, you learn to trust people more because you have to understand that the person beside you has your back,” continue Simpson. “I also learned that life is short and that we should enjoy life while we can.”

Robyn Swinton, who served 23 years in the Navy, said what she enjoyed most about the Memorial Day celebration is the family atmosphere. Swinton, who volunteered during the celebration in the past, said it felt good to sit back and enjoy the festivities this year. 

“I’m usually volunteering, but they didn’t need me this year, so I’m relaxing with my feet up,” laughed Swinton. “This is a great event that seems to get better every year.” 

HARRY founder and director Ciat Shabazz echoed Swinton’s statements when discussing the growth of her organization and the annual celebration. Shabazz founded HARRY in honor of her brother Harry Smith, a Marine who died of cancer that went untreated by the Veterans Administration.

As she walked around the park greeting veterans and others in attendance, Shabazz said it felt good to connect with retired service men and women who she considers part of her family. 

“A lot of people here today have lost loved ones, so I feel like we’re all connected,” said Shabazz. “It feels good to fellowship with community members who have had the same struggles that I have. That’s our connection.” 

North Forsyth High School JROTC and a member of the Buffalo Soldiers Horse Calvary Association present the colors.

Members of the Buffalo Soldiers Horse Calvary Association pause for a moment of silence.

About Author

Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors