Yellow ribbons displayed to honor 776th

By Rozella Hardin
STAR Staff
rhardin@starhq.com

   Bob Cable, a downtown businessman, has never served in the military, but he is one of its biggest supporters. Currently, he champions the 776th Maintenance Co. which has been activated and will be leaving Elizabethton Thursday for Fort Campbell, Ky.
   Cable, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 tragedy, secured a large flag which flew for several days high above the U.S. Highway19-E bypass at the foot of Lynn Mountain.
   Within recent days, Cable has purchased all of the yellow ribbon he could find and has been making yellow bows to tie around utility poles beginning at East Elk Avenue at the Chamber of Commerce. Hopefully, the bows will extend to the VFW on West Elk Avenue.
   "Right now, I only have enough ribbon to tie around the poles as far as the old Paty Building at Lynn Avenue. There are 67 poles, and each bow contains 10 yards and two feet of ribbon. The bow takes ten yards, and the two feet are for streamers," Cable explained.
   Cable and his sister-in-law, Drusilla Smith, have made the bows by hand.
   "I want to get this done by Thursday. Plans are for the boys to leave town by way of Elk Avenue," Cable said.
   Cable already has made two larger bows that have been placed on the monument on East Elk Avenue, as well as two large bows for the Veterans Memorial at the intersection of Pine Street and Elk Avenue. The ribbons were being tied to poles by inmates from the Carter County Jail.
   Cable said he also plans to have the large American flag raised at the Chamber of Commerce by Thursday morning. The 30-foot-by-60-foot flag has been in storage since the 2001 holiday season.
   "A crane will be there Tuesday, and the flag will be placed on a flatbed truck and hoisted into the air attached to a crane supplied by PSG (Precipitator Service Group Inc.) and its owner, Carl Ray Nidiffer. We probably will leave it there until the weekend," he said.
   Also, a smaller American flag will be flying above West Elk Avenue at the VFW Post, where an honor guard will be in place as the convoy leaves town, Cable said.
   The Elizabethton Civitan Club will also display the American flag at downtown participating businesses.
   The local guard unit is expected to leave for Fort Campbell around 9 a.m. Thursday after a brief ceremony at the Elizabethton National Guard, when a proclamation honoring the 776th Maintenance Co. will be presented to officers from the governor's office.