An old postcard of the Carter County Court House and Monument.
ELIZABETHTON — The final pieces are coming together for the centennial celebration of the Carter County Veterans Monument. The committee working on the celebration held its latest meeting on Wednesday afternoon, where County Historian Scott Bowers reported on the arrangements that have been completed and those remaining to be done.
Bowers said the celebration will take place on Oct. 12 from noon until 2 p.m. It will begin with a parade through downtown to honor veterans of all the nation’s wars. Re-enactors will portray veterans of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I. There will be living veterans to represent World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. Bowers said all the representations are in place except for a controversy over Civil War representation.
The parade will end at the monument, where a special program will be conducted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the local landmark. Construction on the monument began in 1912 and the dedication ceremony was held on Oct. 10, 1912. That date was chosen to coincide with the annual reunion of Civil War veterans of the 13th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry (Union).
Words engraved on the monument proclaim it was “built in honor of all soldiers of Carter County in all the wars from the Revolution down to this date 1912.” Descendants of the builders have always included the veterans of wars that came after 1912. The monument became a rallying point of patriotic spirit during the wars of the 20th century, especially World War II, when a wooden wall was built at the base of the monument containing the names of more than 5,000 Carter Countians who served.
In addition to veterans, the monument was also dedicated to someone who did not bear arms, but played a vital contribution to one of the county’s most celebrated battles.
Words on the monument say the monument was dedicated “In memory of Mary Patton who made the gunpowder used at the Battle of Kings Mountain.”
The monument has survived its own battles, including urban renewal plans to remove it.
All of this will be a part of the centennial celebration on Oct. 12. The event will include remarks by U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, and the reading of winning essays from two contests held for grades 5-8 and 9-12.