TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – A three-day weekend and a newly re-opened Boone Dam Recreation Area mean this weekend is a great time to get outside, but veterans and their families know why Memorial Day weekend means so much.
Several cities and towns across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia will hold Memorial Day ceremonies throughout the weekend.
You can find a full list HERE.
In Carter County on Monday, the names of 258 fallen service members from the county are at the War Memorial in downtown Elizabethton.
Mayor Pro Tempore Bill Carter, who served in Vietnam and is the chairman for the Carter County War Memorial, said this weekend is about honoring the fallen from the county and throughout the country.
“We want to recognize the veterans that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country from Carter County,” Carter said. “We as Carter County family members gather, just regular veterans that want to pay tribute.”
Carter said last year was the first time the War Memorial had hosted a Memorial Day ceremony. The space had only been used for Veterans Day previously, but Carter expects a big turnout at the ceremony Monday at 11 a.m.
“We hope the attendance will be at least twice as many as it was last year,” Carter said.
Memorial Day also signals the arrival of summer, and the re-opened Boone Lake Recreation Area should be a popular destination to spend some time outdoors this weekend.
Kenny Watson took a walk with family along the shoreline Friday evening. He said it’s good to be back.
“It means a lot for the community and everyone that used to come here and enjoy it,” Watson said. “My daughter is 11 years old, and the last time we were here was when she was three, so it’s our first time back in seven or eight years.”
Watson said he’ll be off the water this weekend due to busy waters on a holiday weekend.
Family members of veterans want people to remember the reason for this weekend.
Anne Wooden of the Johnson City-Washington County Veterans Memorial Foundation said her husband and grandson are Marines.
She said people need to understand why they can enjoy this weekend with family and friends.
“I look at Memorial Day for what it really is. To honor those who went before us and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we would have the privilege of doing those picnics and enjoying the holiday,” Wooden said.
It’s a special weekend for Watson too. His father served in Vietnam.
“He was in Vietnam. Crew Chief on C-130s,” Watson said. “It’s especially meaningful to us. We fly the American flag at the house and it’s decorated for the holiday.”
News Channel 11 will have coverage of several Memorial Day ceremonies across the Tri-Cities throughout the weekend.