ceremonies pay tribute to those who made the supreme sacrifice
Sevier Countians joined citizens all over America last weekend by pausing to remember our nation’s fallen heroes with two special events on the lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse.
On Sunday, area motorcyclists joined bike enthusiasts from around the nation to pay tribute to the soldiers of all wars who paid the ultimate price before traveling on to Grainger County in the Fourth Annual Smoky Mountain Thunder Memorial Ride.
The ceremony included patriotic music by an area performer and an appearance by “America,” a bald eagle from Dollywood’s American Eagle Foundation, as well as the presentation of a memorial wreath at the veteran’s monument. Local attorney R. B. “Pete” Hailey, U.S.N.R. Ret., delivered the keynote address.
On Monday, another remembrance ceremony at the courthouse featured WIVK radio personality Gunner as the keynote speaker. Earlier this year, the patriotic Gunner spent a month with the troops in Iraq and has stated publicly his life was forever changed by the experience.
The Memorial Day program was hosted by Master of Ceremonies Jay Adams, of WSEV Radio, and included an invocation by the Rev. Robert Mayhorn; the posting of colors by
Gatlinburg American Legion 202; the National Anthem, sung by Scott Andrews, of Sevierville’s First Baptist Church; the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Lewis Miller; and special music by Pegge Delozier.
Following Gunner’s address Gregory Wozniak and Rick Brown, Smoky Mountain National Park Rangers, placed the memorial wreath and Adams led the roll call of deceased Sevier County veterans.
A gun salute was presented by American Legion Post 104’s Honor Guard, followed by the playing of Taps and somber bagpipe music.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day.