Veterans celebrated at patriotic event

  • Patrons at the Veterans Educational Appreciation Day event show respect to 93-year-old U.S. Army veteran Reuben Taylor (left), who fought in the European Theatre of World War II.
    Patrons at the Veterans Educational Appreciation Day event show respect to 93-year-old U.S. Army veteran Reuben Taylor (left), who fought in the European Theatre of World War II.
  • Bikers who participated in the annual Benghazi-Twin Towers Memorial Ride arrive at Band of Brothers Park in Murphy.
    Bikers who participated in the annual Benghazi-Twin Towers Memorial Ride arrive at Band of Brothers Park in Murphy.
  • Cherokee County Commissioner Dan Eichenbaum salutes during the playing of “Taps” at the Veterans Educational Appreciation Day event Saturday.
    Cherokee County Commissioner Dan Eichenbaum salutes during the playing of “Taps” at the Veterans Educational Appreciation Day event Saturday.
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    Murphy – History and patriotism were on tap at Band of Brothers Park on Saturday during the annual Veterans Educational Appreciation Day event.
    “The United States is not a democracy; a democracy is mob rule, where 51 percent of the people rule over the other 49 percent,” Cherokee County Commissioner Dr. Dan Eichenbaum told a crowd of hundreds, earning a round of “amens.” “In a democracy, even by one vote, the majority can tell everybody what to do, including a minority of one.
    “The United States is a constitutional republic in which the rights of the minority, even a minority of one single person, is protected by the Bill of Rights. Y’all should have learned that in civics class. If you didn't, I'm reminding you. So when you hear someone say, ‘Our democracy,’ it is your duty to correct them.”
    Dignitaries from throughout North Carolina attended the free event, which was organized by Cherokee County Schools and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. The event was held on a 4-acre property, on Carriage Lane at Pleasant Valley Road, owned by Roger and Pat Swanson.
    The property used to be nicknamed Tiny Town because of openly displayed playhouses for kids. Over the years, as they started displaying military memorabilia from various eras, the property became known as Band of Brothers Park.
    “Veterans and the military are very important to our state,” N.C. Rep. Holly Grange (R-Wilmington) told the Cherokee Scout. Grange, who announced her candidacy for governor earlier this year, is a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran.
    “We have three of the largest military bases in the country here. Active duty military members and their families are roughly 10 percent of North Carolina’s population. Here in Cherokee County, veterans make up about 25 percent of the population.”
    State Rep. Kevin Corbin (R-Franklin) attended as well. He expressed gratitude to all veterans, regardless of whether they served in combat, before singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood.
    “My son Matthew Corbin served four years as a dentist in the Air Force,” Corbin said. “He's one of those who never saw combat and never was deployed, but he worked on the teeth of men and women and made it able for them to go serve in those conflict areas.
    “So to all you vets, thank you so much. We appreciate your service beyond what we can tell you.”
    Chris Gaubatz, a national security consultant who trains law enforcement officials, spoke about the time he worked undercover as an intern with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, much of which is detailed in the book Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.
    “Is jihad simply shooting things and blowing things up?” Gaubatz rhetorically asked the crowd. “No. It's total warfare. It is kinetic warfare. But it’s also influence operations, media manipulation and propaganda ... working with our schools and working with our pastors at interfaith dialogue. So that if you stand up at church on Sunday and say anything about jihad or Sharia, the interfaith dialogue wants your pastor to tell you to sit down and be quiet.”
    This year, the annual Benghazi-Twin Towers Memorial Ride concluded at Band of Brothers Park after holding ceremonies outside courthouses in Towns and Union counties in north Georgia, as well as Cherokee and Clay counties in western North Carolina. About 90 motorcycle riders, escorted by police, hit the road around 10 a.m. and arrived at the park around noon.
    “We are a number of different riders’ groups that have joined together to remember and honor the people who were killed in Benghazi, Libya (Sept. 11, 2012), and our countrymen who were murdered on Sept. 11, 2001,” Eichenbaum said.
    In addition to educational speakers, the event featured music and free food, which was donated by various organizations. Unfortunately, a parachute jump scheduled to conclude the event was canceled due to weather concerns.
    At the end of the event, Murphy Power Board assisted in raising a U.S. flag as well as an Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians flag on the property. The American flag was previously draped over the casket of U.S. Army veteran Tom Caton, who died last year. The tribal flag was raised to honor Private First Class Charles George, who threw himself on a grenade to save his countrymen while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
    “This gives me a warm feeling,” 93-year-old U.S. Army veteran Reuben Taylor said as attendees thanked him for his service.
    Taylor, an Eastern Band tribal member, joined the Army in 1942 as part of the 82nd Airborne Division and fought in the European Theatre of World War II. He received numerous military honors including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
    Going forward, Veterans Educational Appreciation Day and the Benghazi-Twin Towers Memorial Ride will be a combined event both to take place on the last Saturday of September.