Harnett County,
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Thursday, May 25, 2017  |  Permalink

WWII Veterans to Speak During Harnett Memorial Day Ceremony

Ceremony Will also See Name Added to WWII Memorial

Residents of Harnett County will hear war stories from two members of the Greatest Generation during Monday’s Memorial Day Ceremony in Lillington.

The Harnett County Veterans Council will hold its annual ceremony May 29 at Harnett County Veterans Park beside the Harnett County Courthouse at 301 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd., Lillington.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be World War II Navy veteran Carroll Underwood, who served on the USS LST-667 as an electrician’s mate and a gunner. The ship took part in numerous invasions and transported American prisoners of war after they were rescued from the Japanese, some of who survived the Bataan Death March.

Underwood will share stories from his experiences serving in the Pacific Theater during the war.

World War II veteran Keith Finch of Dunn will also speak during Monday’s ceremony. Finch is a veteran of the Army Air Corps and served as a fighter pilot instructor during the war. He also operated the former Erwin Airport.

The ceremony will also include the unveiling of a new name on Harnett County’s World War II monument.

Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Rawls was killed in action on June 23, 1944, in St. Martin Le Guard, France. Sgt. Rawls was born on Sept. 7, 1912, in northwest Harnett County. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 12, 1942, and served in the 79th Division of the 315th Infantry.

A plaque will also be presented to the Museums of Fuquay-Varina, which assisted in conducting the research that led to Sgt. Rawls’ name being added to the memorial.

Harnett County Veterans Council President Amy Noel said traditionally citizens notify her that a veteran’s name is missing from a monument after they visit and realize their loved one is not listed. Research must then be conducted to verify the information prior to adding a name to one of the monuments.

Noel said organizing the annual Memorial Day Ceremony and the Veterans Day Ceremony, held in November, is something the Veterans Council takes very seriously.

“Serving the community by providing these ceremonies to honor our veterans brings us incredible joy,” she said. “We take pride in honoring those who have served in armed forces, those who are serving currently, and those who will answer our nation’s call in the future.”

Monday’s ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. with refreshments to be served in the Government Complex Commons Area at 10 a.m. following the ceremony.

For more information on Harnett County Veterans Services and the Harnett County Veterans Council, go to www.harnett.org/veterans/.