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BILL KIRBY JR. | Senior Columnist

THE KIRBY FILE: An American soldier of renown among grand marshals for Veterans Day Parade


When folks gather downtown Saturday for the Cumberland County Veterans Day Parade, they’ll be witnessing a soldier’s soldier in Lt. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, commanding general of Fort Liberty and the XVIII Airborne Corps, and the last American solider to depart Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021, in this nation’s effort to defeat the international terrorists Al Qaeda in the 20-year war.

“It’s a privilege to stand together with our community as we honor veterans past and present,” Donahue says. “I’m incredibly proud and grateful to be part of our community’s time-honored tradition as it pays tribute to the service and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. In fact, we pay tribute to those sacrifices every day at sunset during Fort Liberty’s Sunset Liberty March. The march reminds us that we walk together towards a common goal that is arrived at through hard work and sacrifice. As we march together, we honor the legacy of liberty built by men and women past, present and future, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. The Cumberland County Veterans Day parade is of considerable significance for those of us still serving at Fort Liberty, and we could not do what we do without the support of this amazing community.”

The parade, according to organizers, is scheduled for 10 a.m. along Cool Spring, Person, Hay and Pittman streets. Others serving as grand marshals are Col. John Wilcox, garrison commander of Fort Liberty; Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory A. Seymour, command sergeant for Fort Liberty; and Command Sgt. Bryan Barker of the XVIII  Airborne Corps. “We Fought for Liberty” is the parade’s theme.


Early voting for Tuesday’s general election was up to 3,442 as of Thursday, according to the Cumberland County Board of Elections. There are 127,846 registered voters in the county, where 8.41% cast votes in the Oct. 10 city primary. Early voting ends Saturday. You may vote from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the E. Newton Smith Center at 227 Fountainhead Lane or the Cliffdale Recreation Center at 6404 Cliffdale Road.


Popular Cumulus Media radio icon Jeff Goldberg, aka “Goldy,” of WFNC 690, lured District 5 candidates Johnny Dawkins and Lynne Bissette Greene to the broadcast studio Tuesday for an almost hour-long interview of the two City Council candidates in what has become the most hotly-contest race in recent city history. Goldberg, known for his engaging and sunrise personality, was like a seasoned political journalist in leaving no questions unanswered of the political rivals on the “Good Morning Fayetteville” breakfast table. Goldberg would have left CNN cable’s Jake Tapper applauding the no-holds-barred interview.


“The sanctity of life is no longer sacred,” Kem Braden, the city’s 49-year-old police chief, prophetically was telling Mayor Mitch Colvin and the Fayetteville City Council on Oct. 28 about a wave of city gun violence. “All parties and the recent crimes have no value for life or the rule of law. The crime scenes are no longer a somber place. I was at a crime scene this weekend or last weekend where there was singing and dancing in the middle of the crime scene where a subject was just taken away to the hospital.” 

Fast forward, if you will, to three more male victims of three separate fatal shootings, one on Oct. 27 on the 1800 block of Murchison Road and two more on Oct. 28 within an hour of one another along the 1700 block of Pamalee Drive and the 3000 block of Tamarack Drive, according to the Fayetteville Police Department. That’s a city-record 45 homicides in 2023, according to the FPD. There were 44 homicides in 2022.


You’ll find new wrought iron gates shielding restrooms at Freedom Memorial Park at the corner of 105 Bragg Blvd. and Hay Street, according to Don Talbot, the park curator, because of vagrants “relieving themselves” in the foyer doorways. “I had asked the city to do the gates for a couple of years and it did not seem to be important, so I did them,” Talbot says. Cost of the gates was $1,200, Talbot says, that was paid for from the Freedom Memorial Park  steering committee. “We who manage the park decided that we were expending too much effort in keeping the area clean,” Talbot says.


“You, sir, have done a magnificent job writing about this most beloved Fayetteville tradition,” Dr. Hank Parfitt writes in an email about our Nov. 1 column about the 24th Annual A Dickens Holiday, which is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 24 downtown. “Old Chuck Dickens would be most proud.” Parfitt is co-founder of the post-Thanksgiving holiday and co-chairman of the sponsoring Downtown Alliance.


“Hi Bill, on behalf of the Tim Kinlaw family, I want to thank you for the stirring and meaningful tribute you wrote about him in CityView,” Cathy Kinlaw, widow of the late Cumberland County Schools assistant superintendent, writes in an email about our Sept. 24 column. “We feel very honored that you would memorialize him. The article was warm, genuine and moving. We are grateful to you. Tim admired you. He spoke of you often, whether the Cumberland County Schools system news was unsettling or celebratory. I have heard him remark on your fair and honest comments. Tim appreciated that about you. Truly, we should all be a little more like Tim and a little more like you. With gratitude and warm wishes.”

No one, Mrs. Kinlaw, could have written about a better man, who gave so much of himself to help others along life’s way. Timothy Horne Kinlaw was 71 when he died Sept. 18 at his White Lake home.


Daylight Savings ends Sunday. Don’t forget to turn back your clock.


So sad to learn of the death of Matthew Perry, the fun-loving character on the TV sitcom “Friends” that aired from 1994 to 2004 on the NBC television network. His character was Chandler Bing in the series that featured an ensemble cast of Jennifer AnistonCourteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Perry. They were Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross and Chandler sharing life in a Manhattan apartment high rise and the best of friends. And we who watched their antics became their friends, too. Matthew Perry, 54, who long suffered from alcohol and drug addiction, died Oct. 28 at his Los Angeles home.


Daniel McCloud has been appointed as assistant conductor with The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. “The musicians and I are thrilled to welcome Daniel to his new role as assistant conductor for the FSO,” Stefan Sanders, the symphony conductor, says in a news release. “Daniel has earned the admiration and respect not only of our orchestra but also of our community. His outstanding musicianship and engaging personality make Daniel such a wonderful addition to our artistic team. We look forward to featuring Daniel in concerts with the Fayetteville Symphony, Fayetteville Symphonic Band and many other events in our vibrant community.” McCloud earned his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance at Ball State University, a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a  Doctor of Arts degree in Percussion Performance and Instrumental Conducting from Ball State in 2008.

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached by email or at 910-624-1961.

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