Elizabethton held two Veterans Day events on Monday

John Thompson • Nov 12, 2018 at 7:02 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Rainy, cold weather Monday morning kept attendance down at the annual Veterans Day observance hosted by the Elizabethton/Carter County Veterans War Memorial Oversight Committee, but state Rep. John Holsclaw told the audience he felt the conditions reminded him of the hardships that veterans had been called on to to endure.

“It reminds me of all the tears that have been shed,” Holsclaw said.

The county had another Veterans Day observance earlier in the morning in the more comfortable surroundings of the A.L. “John” Treadway Gymnasium of Elizabethton High School. That event was presented by the Elizabethton/Carter County United Veterans Council.

‘It was well attended because the entire student body watched the council’s presentation of such events as the POW Empty Chair Ceremony and the Flag Folding Ceremony.

The Veterans Council decided more than 20 years ago to make the day a teaching point for the county’s next generation of veterans by rotating its program between the four schools in the county and one in the city of Elizabethton.

But Elizabethton High added some of its own touches to the ceremony this year, with patriotic music by the Betsy Band and some appropriate songs by the Elizabethton High School Choir.

The choir’s selections included “Who are the Brave?” and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The Men’s Ensemble performed “Tell My Father.” With Nov. 11 also marking the centennial of the end of World War I, the choir also sang “In Flanders Field,” and Billy Peters of the American Legion also recited the poem “In Flanders Fields.”

Before reciting the poem, Peters explained that it describes the poppies that grew in a field near the French and Belgian border, where a large cemetery had been created for the casualties of an earlier battle in World War I.

Peters told the audience that John McCrae of the Canadian Army had been so touched by the scene that he wrote the poem. Peters said McCrae died later in the war and is now buried in Flanders Field.

Guest speaker for the event was Chief Warrant Officer Jim DuBose, who served in both the Air Force and the Army. He was piloting a helicopter in Vietnam when it was shot down. DuBose also commented on Nov. 11 being observed as Armistice Day from the end of World War I and honored the veterans of that war. He said it became Veterans Day in the United States by act of Congress in 1954 to recognize all veterans.

Music for the Veterans War Memorial observance was provided by Loretta Bowers. She sang a medley of familiar patriotic songs and the national anthem. Bowers has a very strong voice, and as she often does at public events like the Veterans Day observances and the Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree, she performs a cappella.

Guest speaker for the downtown event was Rick Waters, commander of Post 49 of the American Legion. Waters described the lobbying activities the organization does for veterans and the community service events it does, especially for the youth of the area.

The organization also provides a flag-disposal service that retired over 6,000 flags in the county last year. The American Legion sponsors an Honor Guard that has performed at over 100 funerals this year.

Elizabethton Mayor Pro Ten Bill Carter served as master of ceremonies for the event. Carter also serves as chairman of the War Memorial and Walk of Honor Oversight Committee. Appropriately, he concluded the ceremony by providing the number of names on the War Memorial.

He said there were a total of 258 names. That includes 48 from World War I, 155 from World War II, 20 from the Korean War, 30 from Vietnam, and three from the Gulf War and Enduring Freedom.

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