Military Missions in Action held its fourth annual Tee Off for the Troops golf tournament at Brentwinds Golf and Country Club this past Sunday and Monday.
This year MMIA took a more focused approach to honoring veterans. The focus: World War II veterans.
“Our youngest World War II veteran is 86 years old; they’re not going to be around forever,” said Mike Dorman, founder and executive director of MMIA.
“We’ve got to take this opportunity now to recognize them. Next year we’ll focus more on the Korean War veterans and the year after the Vietnam veterans.”
After a few introductory words from Dorman, Fuquay-Varina’s own Michelle Braxton sang the National Anthem.
Robert Senter, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, participated in a Fallen Soldier wreath laying ceremony alongside Miss North Carolina Arlie Honeycutt.
The rifle, helmet and bayonet used in the ceremony were the actual items used by Senter during the time he served in World War II.
West Point graduate Capt. Adam McCombs, who currently serves at the Pentagon, was the guest speaker during the opening ceremony.
During his speech, McCombs talked about how his grandfather, who served during World War II in the Pacific regions, would use lit cigarettes to burn off the leaches he and his platoon members had gathered from marching in swamps and jungles.
He talked about the roles his grandfather and the military have played in making him the man he is today.
“He actually gave me a book called ‘A Civil War: Army vs. Navy.’ That’s what got me interested in West Point,” McCombs said.
“I really think the Military has made me who I am today. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. The people are amazing. The people that support the military are amazing.”
McCombs has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and feels it’s important to recognize those that served before him, despite differing experiences between generations.
“I really tried to relay to all the veterans here today that we really understand the history and sacrifices that you all paid for us and we’re just hoping that we can continue that on in the next generation.”
McCombs’ grandfather passed away while he was still a cadet at West Point. Because of this, McCombs never got a chance to swap stories with his grandfather about his own experiences serving overseas.
Mentioning this in his speech visibly moved many listening in the audience.
Once the tournament began, those in attendance were able to follow along with the golfers or go inside where many historical artifacts were on display. Those items included old war photos, letters, equipment and even a Purple Heart, all available for public viewing.
Although the golf tournament was the headlining event it was important to Dorman that everyone kept perspective on why the event was being held in the first place.
“We want to make this known that this is a Veterans Day celebration with a golf tournament attached to it,” he said.
Dorman also believes that events like Tee Off for the Troops highlight the progress that’s been made in honoring and recognizing those that have served in the U.S. Military.
“I think today we are doing a better job taking care of our veterans that are returning. I’ve always said that I think we’ve failed our veterans returning from Vietnam,” said Dorman. “This time we’ve had the chance to get it right.”
For more information about MMIA, visit militarymissionsinaction.org.