Raymond Carrier, left, and Steve Wingfield converse at the Memorial Day Community Celebration at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds on Monday.

HARRISONBURG — In October 1968, Mount Sidney resident Raymond Carrier watched as a military plane collided with a helicopter near Camp Evans in Vietnam.

Two of his friends were killed in the crash.

“I think about them everyday,” said the 70-year-old Army veteran as he held back tears. “I can’t talk about it.”

Carrier was among roughly 5,000 to attend seventh annual Memorial Day Community Celebration at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds on Monday.

The event was hosted by Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association and several local churches and businesses.

Wingfield said he created the event to honor those who sacrificed it all for their country.

“It brings the community together,” he said.

Recently, he said, someone questioned why he called his event a celebration. He said the person suggested it should be a somber holiday.

“I don’t do funerals," the longtime pastor said. “I do celebrations of life. There used to be parades, but they went away. We need to honor these people and celebrate our freedoms.”

The event featured a classic car show and entertainment for children.

One of the of the big draws each year is the Christian music lineup.

Bridgewater native Jessica Crawford, who serves as the worship arts director for Fountain of Life Church in Burlington, New Jersey, took the stage.

Additionally, The Brandenberger Family and folk singer John Schmid performed.

Schmid said he enjoys performing on Memorial Day.

“I never served, so it’s the least I can do,” said the 70-year-old Berlin, Ohio resident.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6267 or pdelea@dnronline.com. Follow Pete on Twitter @pdeleaDNR

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