WJTV News Channel 12 - Unique Memorial Day picnic in Wake Forest

Unique Memorial Day picnic in Wake Forest

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Scott Brown introduces the four Price brothers and his father, Bill Brown, to the crowd. Scott Brown introduces the four Price brothers and his father, Bill Brown, to the crowd.

More than 1,000 people showed up at a unique Memorial Day event in Wake Forest.

The Memorial Day picnic at the Brown Farm brings vets from many different wars together with the public so that they can get a chance to interact with them and learn first-hand about the sacrifices made by those who never came home.

The picnic had humble beginnings.

"It's the year 2000 and I'm realizing my father -- who was a World War II fighter pilot -- his whole generation is passing away. A thousand are dying every day," said picnic founder Scott Brown who is also pastor of the Hope Baptist Church. "I wanted to find a way to honor that generation."

That tiny picnic grew into an event that now binds a community.

At this year's event, Brown introduced his dad, Bill, and the four Price brothers, all of them World War II vets who range in age from 81 to 91 years old.

The ovation was loud and long as the five vets were acknowledged before the crowd assembled under a huge circus-style tent. After speaking briefly to those in attendance, the vets left the stage and were approached by dozens of folks who wanted to thank them for their service so many decades ago.

"It tears my heart all to pieces, I can hardly talk," said 88-year-old Wilton Price after shaking hands and talking to the throng.

"It's good to know that all these folks here have come out to see us," said his 89-year-old brother Elton.

For many of those who came to the event, the best part about it was being able to spend time with military vets from a number of different wars who'd served their country.

"If we do not tell these things to our children, our grandchildren will not know them," explained picnic attendee Melissa Goodfellow.

That kind of attitude was appreciated by the vets.

"It's good that their mommies and daddies are telling them what Memorial Day means to them," said 81-year-old Percy Price.

For at least one vet, not all the heroes were on the battlefield.

"I saw the heroes as the ones buying bonds and doing other things for our country," said 91-year old Joseph Price. "To me, they were the heroes."

The picnic concluded with a moment of remembrance, which included the reading of names of vets who died this year while fighting for our freedom.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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