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U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Famer to speak at First Baptist Veterans Day event


First Baptist Church, at 302 Moore St., will host a two-day Veterans Day observance Saturday and Sunday. This year’s theme highlights the value of sharing.

Saturday’s observance will include retired Col. Edna Cummings, who will serve as keynote speaker, and Gold Star family member LaToya Bell, beginning at 1 p.m.

Cummings, a Fayetteville native, was the first African American female ROTC graduate from Appalachian State University and is a global advocate for the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. The “Six Triple Eight,” was the only all-female, all-black battalion to serve in the European Theater during World War II. 

Cummings, who was inducted into the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame, will discuss her efforts to champion legislative actions with Congress to award the 6888th the Congressional Gold Medal.

Bell’s husband, 1st Sgt. Russell Bell, was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division who died in August 2012 when an improvised explosive device detonated in Afghanistan. LaToya Bell, who was left with 1-year-old son Gage when her husband was killed, is part of the Gold Star Family Fellowship Program.

Retired Maj. Gen. Rodney O. Anderson will serve as Sunday’s keynote speaker at 10:15. Anderson is the former XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg deputy commander and will pay homage to active-duty service members and veterans.