Ceremony pays tribute to those who served
Published 9:33 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Veterans of Carter County were thanked for their dedicated service to their country during city’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.
“This is a special day for veterans, and for thew world, because we are honoring American heroes,” said Bill Carter, chairman of the War Memorial and Walk of Honor Oversight Committee.
Retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Sara Sellers was the guest speaker for the event held in the Veterans War Memorial in downtown Elizabethton.
Sellers recognized the veterans of all wars, noting American troops had served “on the seas, in the air and on foreign shores” in various parts of the world.
“For more than 200 years, American men and women have answered our nation’s call to defend the founding ideas of our democracy,” Sellers said. “Thousands of our military men and women served, and many died so others, both here and abroad, might enjoy peace and freedom.”
In defense of freedom, Sellers said America’s “most precious treasure” had been sent to other countries to battle against others to “liberate and to preserve the rights of mankind to freedom, liberty and justice.”
Sellers said many wonder where war has a place in a democracy. She explained sometimes war was necessary to protect the weak and destroy dictators that seek to destroy peace-loving nations.
“America stands for the best of all things that people can hope for, dream and achieve,” she said. “We Americans are free. We are a good willed people who will not turn down an ally or any nation that is in need of help. Is there another nation on Earth that has been more generous and compassionate?”
Sellers called on the public to remember the prisoners of war and the soldiers who are still missing in action. She noted Carter County veterans Tom McCloud and the late Wright Swanay and Henry Callaway were held as prisoner of war in Korea and World War II respectively.
“We are a strong nation and when the chips are down, we don’t give in,” she said. “It just gives us that much more will to go forward.”
Sellers also remembered the 195,000 American soldiers buried in eight different countries after dying in battle. Since World War I, 258 Carter County soldiers have been killed in action.
“Through their commitment to freedom, these men and women lifted millions of lives and made our country secure,” Sellers said.
During the ceremony, Loretta Bowers sang the National Anthem. Rick Walters, member of the War Memorial and Walk of Honor Oversight Committee, led the Pledge of Allegiance and Rev. Grant Foster conducted the invocation and benediction.
Carter presented a photograph to veteran Herman Parker. The photo showed Parker and Bill Jenkins, the last known survivors of 30th Division, 117th Battalion, Company A of the Tennessee National Guard.