INDIAN TRAIL – At 100 pounds, Jack Campbell was too light to go to war … at first.
“I was told they wouldn’t draft me,” Campbell said. “But things changed, and the next thing I knew, I was on the way to Fort Jackson.”
And just like that, he was off to Vietnam. A year of service overseas was followed by more service back home – leading VFW Post 2423 as commander, being named captain of the Honor Guard and representing as District 13 Commander for VFW NC. A little more than 50 years later, that skinny 19-year-old has led a life worthy of being held up as an example to all.
Which is why he’ll be at front of the line at the IT’s A Wonderful Life Christmas Parade on Dec. 3, reminding all those parade-goers what it means to live a life of service. For a man who has been marching in the parade since the early 1980s, the promotion to the rank of grand marshal will give him a new perspective on things.
“I’ll be able to keep an eye on those guys marching and make sure they’re doing a good job,” Campbell said jokingly.
But his role as grand marshal also will bring attention to things near and dear to his heart, and lessons he tries to impart to the kids he speaks with at local elementary schools – things like the importance of respecting the flag, and taking off your hat during the National Anthem.
The Indian Trail Town Council worked with the Union West Rotary to select Campbell to lead the parade. Councilwoman Shirley Howe, a key supporter of his nomination, says the council couldn’t have picked a better representative.
The parade starts at 4 p.m. at Post Office Drive, go down Indian Trail Road, turn right at Matthews-Indian Trail Road and wrap around Chestnut Square Park. Visit www.indiantrail.org for details.