LAURINBURG — While many will spend Monday holding cookouts or family gatherings, others will spend the day honoring family of another kind.
The Scotland County Veteran’s Council and the members of American Legion Post 50 will pay tribute to the fallen heroes of their military families with two events.
At 7 a.m. members of Post 50 and others will visit Hillside Cemetery and place flags on the graves of veterans.
“Anyone that would like to be part of it is welcome to come put the flags on our veterans’ graves,” said Jimmy Bennet commander of Post 50 and president of the veteran’s council.
Monday evening at 5, the veteran’s council post members and residents will gather in the Memorial Garden for a ceremony to recognize those who have died in service to the country.
The service will begin with welcoming remarks by Mayor Matthew Block.
The guest speaker for the event is state Rep. Garland Pierce who is a veteran of the Vietnam era and served in the 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Ft. Bragg.
Pierce’s topic will be, reflecting on the freedoms we [the country] have because of the sacrifice of service men and women.
“Every day there are service men and women in other countries and away from their families making it possible for us to enjoy our days,” Pierce said. “As we are at the beach or celebrating with family, we should pause for a moment of silence or a moment of prayer to remember them.”
Pierce also believes days like Memorial Day should be used to teach young people about the sacrifices the military make for the country.
The Scotland High School JROTC will present the colors for the ceremony and Benita Mullis of the Scotland County Health Department will sing the national anthem.
American Legion Post 181 Tenth District Ritual Team will deliver a 21 Gun Salute to honor those lost in battle, and the service will be closed by a bugler playing “Taps.”
Bennet believes that people should take every opportunity they can to honor veterans especially those who did not make it home.
“Our men and women fought to make this country free, and we need to observe those days we can. They don’t get but two days a year Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day,” Bennett said. “They fought, so we should honor them.”
The ceremony is being held in the veteran’s garden because it is the pride of Post 50. The men and women want residents to know that it is there to honor all members of the military whether they are from Scotland County or not. There will be forms available after the ceremony for those who wish to purchase a brick to honor or memorialize a loved one’s service and have it added to a wall in the garden.
Refreshments will be served following the ceremony.
In the event of rain the service will be held inside the Post reception hall.
For information on purchasing a brick, call Bennett at 910-610-5204 or Dewey Pittman at 910-3184723.
Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May and is set aside to recognize the men and women who died in active service in the U.S. military. It was originally called Decoration Day and began in the years after the Civil War. Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Despite high gas prices, nearly 1.2 million North Carolina residents are expected to travel on Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association.
“A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Carolinians the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson.
Residents will be traveling despite seeing the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014, AAA reports. The average price of a gallon of gas in North Carolina is $2.78 a gallon, a 57-cent increase from this time last year.
Gas on average is $2.65 a gallon in South Carolina, a 60-cent increase from Memorial Day weekend last year. The average price in Rock Hill on Wednesday was $2.63 a gallon, a 7-cent increase from last week.
“However, these higher prices are not keeping holiday travelers home, with automobile travel expected to increase for the fourth straight year,” according to AAA Carolinas.
The top travel destinations for North and South Carolina residents by car include Myrtle Beach; Orlando, Fla.; and Asheville, N.C., AAA reports.
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the “100 Deadliest Days,” a period when traffic deaths have historically risen.
In North Carolina, there were 1,768 collisions, 918 injuries and 10 fatalities in 2017.
“We urge everyone to practice safe behaviors behind the wheel. Eliminate distractions, don’t drink and drive, and don’t speed,” Wright said in the statement.
Here are some tips for safely navigating the highways during the Memorial Day weekend:
— Leave early to get a head start on your drive. Travel at non-peak hours when possible;
— Stay alert. Even if work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts in work zones;
— Be patient and obey the posted speed limit;
— Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion;
— Stay informed. Real-time travel information is available at DriveNC.gov, by calling 511, or by following NCDOT on Twitter.
Drivers should also be aware that the Highway Patrol and local law enforcement are taking part in the annual Memorial Day Click It or Ticket campaign, looking for drivers and passengers who are not using their seat belts.
Over the weekend, the N.C. Department of Transportation will pause most road construction activities that require lane closures on major routes across the state to help holiday travelers have smoother trips.
NCDOT will suspend most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes until 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
There will be some exceptions, including:
— I-85 will have two of four lanes closed nightly between Exit 173 (Cole Mill Road) and Exit 178 (U.S. 70);
— I-85 between Henderson and the Virginia state line will continue to have traffic in a two-lane, two-way pattern;
— I-40 westbound near Mocksville will continue to have its right lane closed for paving and patching between mile markers 173 and 168;
— Construction lanes will still be narrowed on I-77 near Mooresville from Exit 36 to Exit 11 going both directions;
— U.S. 421 will have two of four lanes closed in both directions near Wilkesboro;
— Cape Fear Memorial Bridge electrical and mechanical repairs will continue in Wilmington and one of two lanes will be closed for both directions of travel;
— I-26 will have a lane closed in both directions between mile markers 12 and 18 near Weaverville; and
— U.S. 74 near Columbus will have lanes closed in both directions between mile markers 168 and 174.
Many Scotland businesses and municipal offices will be closed on Monday in observation of the holiday.
The city of Laurinburg will be closed Monday for Memorial Day. Trash collection and recycling will be interrupted by the holiday. Residents who have their trash picked up on Mondays will see it picked up a day later on Tuesday.
The city’s bi-weekly recycling schedule will also be slightly altered due to the holiday, according to city officials. Those households that have their recycling picked up on Monday will have it picked up on Tuesday along with their garbage.
The Scotland County landfill will be closed Monday. The landfill will reopen for regular operations on Tuesday.
The county departments — social services, parks and recreation, Scotland County Library and Scotland County Courthouse — will be closed Monday in observation of the holiday. The post office will also be closed for Memorial Day.
The following banks will be closed Monday — First Capital Bank, BB&T, Wells Fargo, PNC, First Bank, Self-Help Credit Union and Capital Bank, but the ATMs at all bank locations can still be accessed.
WoodForest National Bank inside Wal-Mart will operate under normal business hours Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.