By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Marine Cpl. Ocie Howard Smith, according to family members, seldom talked about his military career, but his three-year commitment during World War II spoke volumes about his love for his country.
Smith was honored Monday during the 116th Memorial Flag-Raising service at the Edgecombe County Veterans' Memorial. His widower, Dorothy Smith and their children, Lee Smith, Ann Cale, Betty Smith, Glenn Smith, Johnny Smith and Dennis Smith, attended the event.
Smith enlisted in the Marines in 1943 — during some of the worst of the brutal war. He served in the Pacific Theater in a salvage platoon. Salvage platoons visited camps and picked up damaged items which were fit for repair and reissue.
"Daddy didn't talk too much about his military career but he was proud of his service," said his daughter, Ann.
Smith was honorably discharged in 1946 and it was apparently his love for his hometown that brought him back, where he took an agriculture course at North Edgecombe High School. That course landed him a job at the now-defunct Edgecombe Bank & Trust Co., which he held for many years until he retired. He came out of retirement and accepted a job as a security guard at Long Manufacturing Co., but soon after, he was diagnosed with cancer. He succumbed to the disease on Jan. 11, 1997.
The flag-raising services are held on the first Monday of every month at the Veterans Memorial in the Town Common to honor deceased Edgecombe County veterans. The services include lowering the American flag of the veteran honored the previous month and raising the flag of the veteran who is being honored. Cadets from Tarboro High School's Junior ROTC program handle the flag-raising chores.
Military memorabilia from the deceased is placed on display for the month in the Edgecombe County Veterans Museum, located at 106 W. Church St.
The Veterans Museum will hold a memorial brick laying along side the south wall of the Colonial Theatre on Thursday. A total of 28 bricks will be laid during the session, which will get under way between 9 and 9:30 a.m.