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Mooresville honors service members killed in Afghanistan during Vereran’s Day parade

Hundreds of people lined the streets in Mooresville for the annual Veteran’s Day parade. It’s a chance to remember and reflect. But this year was a little different.
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 5:53 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Thirteen service members killed in the line of duty during an attack at the Kabul Airport were honored as the Veteran’s Day Parade’s Grand Marshals in Mooresville on Thursday.

“This place is more than a coffee shop you know? It’s hallowed walls,” said museum director Jim Kiger.

Richard’s Coffee Shop in Mooresville is more than just the coffee it sells. It’s a living, breathing museum.

It is a place where veterans can remember their lives when it was much more simple - the oath, the commitment, buddies by their side, many of them still there even years later.

“Anybody in here I would take a bullet for,” Todd Wilson said.

Through the good, and the bad times.

“When my husband came back from Vietnam, he landed in San Francisco and was spat on,” Beryl Tingman said of her husband of 23 years.

It’s a place where stories can be shared from those who went through it.

Past down through the generations, there are plenty of stories.

“Certain things I’ll never forget. Some things I block out of my mind if I can,” Korean War vet Thomas Franzone told WBTV’s Ron Lee.

Thursday’s Veteran’s Day Parade down Main Street honors those who came home as well as those who didn’t. It’s those who never came back that hurt the most.

“Lotta friends missing. Lotta lotta friends missing,” said Terry Gibson.

As the parade honoring the troops kicked off in Mooresville, a special tribute to the latest young servicemembers who were taken in the line of duty in Afghanistan.

“If I start crying here you’ll understand okay?”

Jim Kiger helped come up with the idea of posthumously honoring the Afghan-13 with being this year’s Grand Marshals.

Thirteen flags honoring each life lost.

Kiger also knows the meaning of this day has changed for those left behind.

“You know, there’ thirteen families that, they’re not celebrating Veteran’s Day, they’ll be waiting around for Memorial Day,” Kiger said.

A sobering reminder that with service, come sacrifice.

“I feel very proud. I’m glad I did what I did and I would do it again if I could.”

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