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Recognizing veterans, kicking off summer on tap for Memorial Day weekend

May 22nd, 2013 9:36 pm by Jennifer Sprouse

Recognizing veterans, kicking off summer on tap for Memorial Day weekend

As covers are being lifted off of local pools and grills are dusted off for the unofficial start of the summer season, many communities throughout the area have also set aside time to honor veterans –– past and present –– this Memorial Day weekend.

On Saturday, members of the Sequoyah Council of the Boy Scouts of America will meet near the gazebo on the grounds at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home at 11:30 a.m. before marching to the National Cemetery to place American flags on the graves at noon.

A Sequoyah Council representative said the placement of flags on the graves is something Boy Scouts across the nation participate in and said he expects to see several Scouts in attendance Saturday.

According to a news release, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, will be a keynote speaker at a Memorial Day ceremony at the new veterans memorial on Fort Henry Drive in Kingsport Saturday.

The ceremony, which will include organizations such as the American Legion, Korean War Veterans Association, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council, will begin at 11 a.m.

Mt. Wesley United Methodist Church, 586 Mt. Wesley Road, Telford, will hold its annual Memorial Day observance on Sunday beginning at 10:45 a.m. The Rev. Walter Weikel, Johnson City District superintendent of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, will be the guest speaker. Those interred in the cemetery this past year will be remembered with a candle-lighting service. A covered-dish lunch in the fellowship hall will follow the service.

Enon Baptist, Nolichuckey Baptist and Seviers United Methodist churches will hold a memorial service at Seviers UMC, 951 Tenn. Highway 107, Jonesborough, on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. A collection will be taken to support the cemetery fund. For information, call 753-3509 or 753-8147.

A Memorial Day program is planned for Monday at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home, according to a VA representative.

The program honoring veterans will be held in the grassy field next to the gazebo and will feature a variety of speakers, a presentation of colors, as well as a POW table.

Refreshments will also be available at the event.

Also on Monday, a ceremony will be held at the Johnson City/Washington County Veteran’s Memorial on West Main Street in Johnson City at 6 p.m.

Committee Chairwoman Brenda Barnette said the Memorial Day event will honor all veterans from all conflicts of war and will have representatives standing during the ceremony to honor each different war veteran.

JROTC’s from Science Hill High School, Daniel Boone High School and David Crockett High School have been invited to participate at the event, and the Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 will present a table ceremony honoring prisoners of war.

Happy Valley Memorial Park, Elizabethton, will hold its observance at the Garden of Paradise on Monday at 10 a.m. Sgt. Maj. Dean Batchelder will be the guest speaker. A message of remembrance will be provided by the Rev. Ron Owens. Military honors will be provided by the Carter County Honor Guard. Special music will be provided by Jon Shell.

Mountain City and the Johnson County Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a Memorial Day observance at Ralph Stout Park at 11 a.m. Monday. In case of rain, the observance will be held at the Johnson County Community Center.

A Memorial Day ceremony will be held in Unicoi County this Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Park, located along South Elm Avenue in Erwin. 

Former Erwin mayor Russell Brackins and others will speak at the event, which will also feature music. 

A ceremony to dedicate a portion of Interstate 26 that runs through Unicoi County as a Purple Heart Trail will be held Friday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Unicoi County Commission Vice Chairman Bill Hensley said the ceremony will take place along I-26 South, just past the Okolona Road Exit and Unicoi County line. 

Hensley said state Sen. Rusty Crowe and state Sen. Steve Southerland are set to appear at the ceremony. He also said the public and, in particular, Purple Heart recipients, are invited to attend. 

The 13th annual Veterans Memorial Musical Tribute will be held on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the Jonesborough Visitors Center Auditorium.

The musical guest for this occasion will be the Johnson City Community Concert Band.

Contact Marion Light at 753-5429 for more information on this event.

Along with Memorial Day ceremonies honoring veterans, local pools in the region will be opening to the public on the national holiday. Robin DiMona with Johnson City Parks and Recreation said Legion Street pool will be open Monday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and will host a variety of games around the pool deck such as corn hole, volleyball and basketball.

Elizabethton Bureau Chief John Thompson and Erwin Bureau Chief Brad Hicks contributed to this article.

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