ROTC students standing at the podium and flag poles

Buncombe County Communications Department

Posted on 05/31/2022

Charles D. Owen High School held a special ceremony on Friday, May 27, to commemorate Memorial Day and to remember the fallen members of our armed forces.

“It’s important for us in Swannanoa Valley as Owen High had the highest percentage of young men pass away in Vietnam,” said JROTC instructor Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Garland. “Especially since Swannanoa Valley was much more rural - everyone knew it, everyone felt it. We want to make sure we don’t forget.”

The ceremony took place at the memorial for fallen alumni at the entrance of Owen High.

Special guest Marshall Blankenship, close friend to the fallen Vietnam veterans who played an integral part in upkeep the monument, was in attendance, as well as local first responders and veterans.

“We haven’t had many opportunities to have ceremonies like this because of COVID,” said SFC. Garland. “This is what JROTC should be doing. They’re having this experience and learning why it’s important. We are reconnecting the energy with the JROTC students, the community, and the history as well as paying respect to our fallen troops.”

ROTC students standing at flag pole and podium

Vietnam veterans memorial monument in front of flag pole and flower arrangement

Close up of Vietnam veterans memorial monument

Yellow firetruck

A veteran and a civilian shaking hands

A ROTC member placing a floral arrangement during a ceremony

Students standing respectfully while a student plays the trumpet

ROTC students saluting the flag

Two veterans saluting

A ROTC student saluting