IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Controversial symbols like the Confederate flag and the Nazi swastika were used during the demonstrations in Charlottesville and have stirred up a lot of emotions.
Every Thursday in downtown Mooresville, a band of brothers share their combat stories.
Richard's Coffee Shop on North Main Street plays host to the weekly gathering. Veterans of World War II make up the smallest population and members of the so-called "Greatest Generation" are thinning out.
At age 92, Bob Harm recalls his experiences from that war.
"I served an assault signal depot company," Harm said. Harm takes pride in showing off the U.S.S. Navaro. It's one of the vessels that carried him into battle, but more than 70 years later he's perplexed that the Nazi flag and the attitudes that he fought against are front and center on U.S. soil.
"I think they are making a statement in order to create a reaction," Harm said.
An unforgettable reaction came in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. J.D. Chamberlain is also a visitor at the coffee shop and is among those concerned about the day that was before his 99th birthday.
"I think that we're still fighting war," Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain, who was a sailor in World War II, saw action in the European and Japanese theaters and doesn't understand today's logic of the alt-right protesters. He was asked whether protesters understood his sacrifice as a veteran? "No," Chamberlain said.
Sacrifice and service are celebrated from table to table each week. While Harm feels unity is promoted in the environment made up of veterans, away from Richards Coffee Shop he thinks the conditions in America are very different.
"This country reached a point where we're totally divided, totally divided, and it came about not on my watch," Chamberlain said.