ELIZABETHTON — Once again there were two Veterans Day observances in Carter County.
The first ceremony was held at Hampton High School, where the Elizabethton/Carter County United Veterans Council brought the observance to the next generation. The second ceremony was held in downtown Elizabethton, where the Elizabethton/Carter County War Memorial Committee dedicated the third and final phase of the Veterans Walk of Honor.
The United Veterans council always holds its ceremony in one of the five high schools in the county and city. By rotating the ceremony each year to a different school, the council hopes to get the message of the meaning of Veterans Day to each student at least once during their four years in high school.
This year the guest speaker was Sara Sellers, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant and former member of the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Looking at her audience of young people, Sellers connected them to Veterans Day.
“Our wars have won for us every hour we live in freedom. Our wars have taken from us men and women we honor today. Today is a reminder of their valor and courage. You, our young people, are our future. Just as in the past, duty is required of every generation. If the time comes, the hope of America rests upon your willingness to sacrifice and endure the same as those before you.”
Sen. Rusty Crowe, who represents Carter and Washington counties in the General Assembly and is a member of the Joint Select Committee of Veterans Affairs, was the guest speaker at the ceremony held at the Elizabethton/Carter County War Memorial.
Crowe was introduced by Deacon Bowers, chairman of the War Memorial Committee.
Bowers said the the third and final phase of the Walk of Honor brings to almost 6,000 individual plaques bearing the name of a Carter County veteran. He said the first part of the project, the Veterans War Memorial was dedicated during Veterans Day 2002 and it included the names of 256 veterans who had been killed in action or who had been missing in action and later declared killed in action by Congress. Since that dedication in 2002, an additional two names have been added from deaths in Enduring Freedom.
Much of the work of checking and double checking all the names was done by committee member Sam Shipley. He was recognized with a plaque for his many thousands of hours of devoted service.
Bowers said that with the completion of the third and final phase of the Walk of Honor, the committee’s work was done and the responsibility for the maintenance of the grounds was being turned over to the city.
In his remarks, Crowe responded to the end of the final phase of the Walk of Honor by suggesting there could be more work for the committee. The memorial contains blocks of black granite for each war of the 20th and 21st centuries.
“I would like to see another marker right up here in front for the Revolutionary War,” Crowe said.
“We need to remember those who mustered at Sycamore Shoals and created the turning point in the War of Independence. It started right here.”
He then went on to describe how terrible the Civil War had been in Carter County, where brother fought against brother. He thought there should be a marker for that war and the Carter Countians who died in it.
Crowe then went on to describe the wars that are represented in the memorial. He started with World War I. “How terrible it was to fight in the trenches and in the mud,” Crowe said.
Crowe then discussed World War II and the death of his uncle, a P-38 pilot, in combat in the Aleutians. Crowe said the body of Dewey Crowe was never recovered “and remains under the ice somewhere.”
Crowe said it was important to remember those who cared more for liberty and freedom of others than they did for their own lives.