Lighting of 'Eternal Flame' highlights veteran's memorial completion

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   The lighting of the Eternal Flame at the Elizabethton-Carter County Veterans War Memorial on Monday will highlight the commemoration of Memorial Day in Elizabethton. The ceremony will signify the end of construction on the project to honor 255 Carter Countians killed in combat in each war since World War I.
   "Freedom is not free. May the memory of these 255 Carter County veterans never die," said Deacon Bowers, chairman of the Veterans War Memorial Committee. "May the Eternal Flame serve as a beacon for present and future generations."
   In January 2002, the Veterans War Memorial Committee announced plans to build a memorial at Pine Street and Elk Avenue in downtown Elizabethton. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held July 4, 2002 after the committee raised $125,000 in cash donations and $127,000 in in-kind contributions. Dedication ceremonies were held Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2002.
   The Memorial Day ceremony will also include the playing of "Taps," the raising of the American Flag by the United State Marine Corps, a medley of songs by Loretta Bowers, and prayers offered by the Rev. Bobby Stout, pastor of Pleasant Beach Baptist Church, and the Rev. Bruce Hendrich, pastor of Oak Street Baptist Church.
   Bowers said the Elizabethton-Carter County Veterans War Memorial Committee wishes to thank the city of Elizabethton for providing the memorial site and the 300 contributors who made the project possible.
   The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. Monday, May 26. The ceremony will include the playing of "Taps" by Jeff Kleiber, and a medley of songs sung by Loretta Bowers.
   Local veterans and veteran organizations, as well as donors and in-kind contributors, are among those invited to participate in the ceremony, said Bowers.
   Major financial contributors were Carter County Bank, Carter County Government, Citizens Bank Foundation, City of Elizabethton, Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank, State of Tennessee and Charles Green.
   Major in-kind contributors were Bolton Concrete Products, Inc., Carter County Annex Community Service Group, Elizabethton Electric System, General Shale Products Corp., Precipitator Service Group, Inc., Reedy and Sykes Architects, Summers-Taylor Construction Co., and Waste Management Services.