BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Drivers passing Blountville along State Route 394 will notice a new sign along the road announcing a veterans memorial.
If you turn into the parking lot for the Heritage Tourism Information Center, you can see visible progress at the Sullivan County Veterans Memorial Park.
Battle of Blountville Civil War Memorial Park Association President, Todd McKinley said the idea for the memorial came out of ambitious plans to commemorate the September 1863 skirmish.
“I got involved a few years ago,” McKinley told News Channel 11. “They started to figure it out. You know, we can’t do all this stuff, but we can build a veterans memorial.”
The team got to work gathering donations and broke ground on the project in March.
Today, the stones marking four centuries of service people stand covered, awaiting an opening.
McKinley said the team had hoped to open the park for Veterans Day, but they still have work ahead.
“Landscaping is just basically the next big thing, electrical work for the lighting for the flag and some minor things as far as maintenance,” McKinley said.
Though nearby Kingsport and Bristol have memorial parks for veterans from within city limits, McKinley said the goal here is to create something as inclusive as possible.
“We’re not honoring just those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” McKinley said. “We’re honoring every veteran who’s ever served, past and present. And, of course, the future.”
Local veterans say having a place to come and reflect on their service and comrades would be meaningful.
“It’s very precious,” Air Force Veteran and board member Terry Hoornstra told News Channel 11. “It means a lot because they’re all my brothers and sisters.”