Pictured (from left) are veterans who were recognized for their service: David Benbow, U.S. Army; Dale Wilson, U.S. Marine Corps; Mike Tucker, U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve; Bill Wilson, U.S. Army; Andy Pendleton, U.S. Army Air Force; and Curtis Abell, U.S. Air Force.

Special to Iredell Free News

The Rotary Club of Greater Statesville held a Veterans Day program on November 10, recognizing Rotary Club veterans and other veterans for their many years of military service.

Bill Wilson, U.S. Army veteran, opened the program with an invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

Mike Tucker, Senior Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired), was the speaker for this event. His presentation, “Service and Sacrifice, Normandy Beach Invasion,” was a tribute to all veterans who have served and sacrificed to protect our freedoms.

Following discussions with WW II and D Day Veteran Bill Lowrance of Mooresville, who served as a Navy Medical Corpsman at Normandy Beach, Tucker became interested in learning more about this “Great Crusade” led by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhour.

While visiting the Normandy region of France, touring the World War II Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, and the Museum of the Battle of Normandy, Tucker became convinced that more people need to understand the service, sacrifice and significance of that famed battle. Hence, this presentation was a tribute to all veterans who have sacrificed, many with their lives, and served to protect our freedom. May we never forget them.

An honored, special guest for this event was veteran Andrew Pendleton, who served in the U.S. Army Air Force in North Africa and Italy in World War II. He flew 27 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (three times), European Service Medal with ten battle stars, and World War II Victory Medal Presidential Unit Citation (three times).

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