East Tennessee to honor veterans in two-day event

Published 8:17 am Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The weekend before Veterans Day, members of the community will gather at the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City to remember and honor past and current veterans in their lives.

War re-enactor Jeff Campbell said they have been putting this event on for roughly eight years now.

“This is our annual event,” Campbell said. “It is a tribute to the American Soldier.”

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While their Sycamore Shoals event in June was a special case to honor the Normandy Invasion on its anniversary, this event has a broader focus, detailing the lives of soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

“We all have our traditions for holidays,” he said. “People are often at a loss at how to celebrate Veterans Day.”

The “Walk in their Boots” is large enough to take up two days of activities, including a pancake breakfast starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, three lectures, two battle reenactments, a dinner dance and then a military convoy parade on Sunday.

Of those three lectures, one will be from a former brigadier and two are from ETSU professors.

“My favorite is the education day,” Campbell said. “This is a great educational opportunity for the children.”

Students from high schools, home school programs and even JROTC get to learn hands-on history at a variety of different booths, letting them see what life was like for soldiers in real-life, as opposed to reading about it in a book or watching it in a video online.

“It helps make people aware of the soldiers and their sacrifice,” he said. “It is something they do not always go in-depth in at school.”

Campbell said people are often surprised at how much work goes into not just the demonstrations but events such as this.

“If we are not putting on events, we are going to them,” he said. “That is part of the hobby.”

The parade their military convoy will participate in Saturday will actually join Johnson City’s official Veterans Day parade.

The event itself will begin at 9 a.m. at 2620 S. Roan St. in Johnson City. Campbell said there will be a special Veterans Recognition event at around noon Saturday.