TRI-CITIES, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) — People across the region took part in Veterans Day events on Saturday to honor those who have served and are still serving in the military.
In Kingsport, Mayor Pat Shull took the stage during a special ceremony to thank all veterans and reflect on his time in the Army.
“I am a veteran, you can tell by the hat,” he said. “I’m retired from the Army. I appreciate all the Veterans’ service, regardless of which part of the U.S. military they were in.” Along with Mayor Shull’s words, Kingsport City Manager Chris McCartt delivered an address to the crowd.
Attendees at the Kingsport ceremony recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the National Anthem and took time to thank the veterans in attendance. Numerous veteran groups gathered at the ceremony, including the American Legion chapters and VFW posts.
In Bristol, an annual parade took place, where this year’s Grand Marshal was Korean War Veteran Roger Graham. He told News Channel 11 that he was moved to see the turnout of residents supporting veterans at the parade.
“It means a great deal to me,” he said. “I enrolled in the U.S. Navy and then I went active duty two weeks before the Korean War ended, and then I was on special secret duty for one year.”
The Bristol, Tennessee High School and Sullivan East marching bands performed during the parade, and several Boy Scouts, motorcycle clubs and veteran organizations took part in festivities, as well.
Then at the Johnson City Veterans Memorial, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) ROTC members came to a ceremony to show their respect for the military members who came before them.
“The Veterans Memorial Foundation has provided us with the ceremony,” said ROTC member Kenton Rowe. “This way we can honor all veterans, either Korea and Vietnam, World War II. We’ve had many veterans out here today. That way, we can honor their legacy. We can show that the sacrifices that they made, and the others that have gone before us and before them.”
The Tri-Cities Brass Ensemble provided music during the ceremony, and Rowe said that’s just an example of the massive support the local community provides during military-related holidays.
“Let’s be honest, Tri-Cities. We have one of the highest counts of veterans to civilian ratios. We’re big veteran supporters here. I love to see the big crowd. The big crowd just tells me that everybody here supports those who have served our country.”