CarolinaEast honors veterans during their final moments

NEW BERN, NC (WITN) - The Fourth of July holiday is a celebration of not only the birth of this country but also patriotism.

That patriotism goes hand in hand with celebrating the sacrifices of our veteran community.

CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern created a program called the Final Salute program to make sure current and former members of the military are honored.

They use American flags to represent those who have served. On Wednesday, the hospital received a helping hand with the Final Salute program when 40 flags were donated to the program.

CarolinaEast Outcome Specialist Susan Edwards said, "We do a moment of silence, we present a flag to the family, then we do a procession through the hallways of CarolinaEast down to the veteran's final destination."

Families, like Arnie and Joe Smalldridge, say the tribute means so much especially during a difficult time in their lives. "It's very touching you know. I mean it's an emotional time anyway, but it was touching to see and it really is like a family. They are there to support you when you are going through tough times. The fact that they gave their time to come out and just stand and take that moment to honor his dad. It was beautiful."

Since January of this year, CarolinaEast says they have been able to provide a Final Salute for 18 veterans and their families.