Florence celebrates veterans while the sun shines


Florence celebrates veterans while the sun shines

FLORENCE, S.C. − The Pee Dee got a jump on celebrating veterans Tuesday when St. Anthony Catholic School saluted veterans and later in the morning when a group from Shaw Air Force Base arrived to tour Florence’s Veterans Park.

The events came a day ahead of Florence’s official Veterans Day event, which will take place at the Florence Veterans Park, weather permitting.

St. Anthony Catholic School’s annual event has traditionally featured a feast of a breakfast prepared by the men’s club, followed by a well-attended presentation by the students.

In the age of COVID-19, this year’s breakfast was a sanitary serving of doughnuts and coffee, and the attendance was somewhat reduced.

The students, though, made up for that in song, essay and enthusiasm.

Following the flag presentation by the Knights of Columbus, Maddie Tilton sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” Chase Fluharty narrated a history of Veterans Day and Alexa Sungahid read her essay on patriotism.

Other parts of the event included Katie Tilton’s telling of the story of taps, a flag-folding ceremony by the Knights of Columbus narrated by Dakota McDonald and Thad Woodall, a song that was also signed by students in attendance and a song during which students held up photos of their veteran family members.

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Later in the morning, a motorcycle ride from Shaw arrived at the Florence Veterans Park for a guided tour of the monuments.

The group, comprised of active service, retired and discharged veterans − and a few civilians − followed Florence Veterans Park Committee Chairman Col. (RET) Barry Wingard along the tour.

The park will be the location on Wednesday of Florence’s 12th annual Veterans Day Ceremony.

This year’s speaker is scheduled to be the president of the University of South Carolina, Bob Caslen. Before coming to the university, Caslen served a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Army and retired as a lieutenant general. His last assignment was superintendent and president of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Masks and social distancing are required this year, and attendees are encouraged to bring a chair if they want to sit.

Should the weather not cooperate the event, will take place on the floor of the Florence Center arena.

“As of right now, it looks like scattered to widespread showers will be increasing overnight into early Wednesday morning,” said Jordan Baker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, North Carolina. “Could see periodic breaks between showers, but we’re expecting more wet weather than dry.”

The weather forecast for event time Wednesday calls for an 80% to 90% chance of showers with rain continuing throughout the afternoon.

Heavy rain is forecast to continue through Thursday with the Pee Dee receiving 2 to 4 inches overall.

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FLORENCE, S.C. — The Pee Dee Tuesday got a jump on celebrating veterans when St. Anthony Catholic School celebrated veterans and later in the…