WEAVERVILLE, N.C. – The WNC Field of Honor in the Woodfin community is in honor of the heroes who fought for freedom. It's also a fundraiser for the North Buncombe Blackhawk Band, which is planning a trip to Pearl Harbor later this year.
Saturday's opening ceremony was full of patriotism, but parent Ginger Strivelli thinks a prayer took the fundraiser way off course. Pastor Jim Dykes' prayer, Strivelli says, excluded so many who fought for America.
"It's disappointing and it's insulting. I have Veterans, so many are Christian, some are not. Some are Atheist, Buddhist, some are Pagan like myself," she tells us.
Strivelli's calling for the removal Marvin Mercer, a volunteer who co-chairs the Pearl Harbor committee, who tells us he just followed the Colonial Flag Foundation's template for the program.
"I don't think I did anything wrong and I certainly didn't do anything wrong. I certainly didn't do anything intentionally wrong. This is a good thing for the community," Mercer says.
North Buncombe Principal, Jack Evans, doesn't want volunteers removed. He says he spoke to the booster club leadership about the content of their ceremony. "Some people felt left out and not included," Evans says. "At North Buncombe we work hard to make sure everyone feels included in our educational and extra curricular activities."
"They were acting as North Buncombe Blackhawks," Strivelli says. "North Buncombe public high school. They had no business doing this to a captive audience of students. That was embarrassing."
I don't see how a prayer can exclude certain groups. If you pray for all vets that died in combat and those who are still alive and fought in wars, you're praying for ALL of them, what they choose to believe in privately (or not believe in) has nothing to do with the fact you wished them all well.
I agree, Kate. Wiccans seem to be in it just so that they can say they're witches. I've never met one who really knows anything about witchcraft, not that I know all that much myself. Most of them will talk about the goddess and things like that, but if you ask them a question, they really don't know what they're talking about.