Ceremony honors history of Carter County veterans

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   A crowd of more than one hundred people gathered at the Elizabethton - Carter County War Memorial Tuesday at 11 a.m. to honor the veterans of this nation, both living and dead.
   Sen. Rusty Crowe, chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Veterans Affairs, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Crowe spoke about the long history of veterans in Carter County.
   "On this Veterans Day, it is a time to pause and to reflect on the past and the present. We are gathered here today to pay respect to the 256 Carter Countians who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, Desert Storm and (Operation) Enduring Freedom," Crowe said. "According to military records, more than 10,000 residents of Carter County fought in all these wars. It is one of the highest percentages of residents in the state of Tennessee to serve in the armed services."
   Currently, more than 6,000 veterans live in Carter County, according to Crowe, half of whom are under the age of 65.
   "We proudly salute you and the job you have done and are doing for our country," he said. "Carter Countians, repeatedly, have exemplified Tennessee's nickname as the volunteer state in their military service. Our state and our nation are grateful for the sacrifices of these soldiers, men, women, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, spouses and other loved ones."
   The history of service to country began with the Revolutionary War and the muster at Sycamore Shoals, Crowe said. "Our first veterans mustered there and turned the tide in the Battle of Kings Mountain. We're very proud that Carter County played that part in the Revolutionary War."
   The tradition carried into the Civil War in Northeast Tennessee when brother was found fighting against brother. Still today that service to country can be found, Crowe said, citing the number of men and women from this region who serve their country in the military both at home and overseas. "We shall never forget their love of country and the difference they make in serving our country," he said.
   As part of the ceremony, Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs John Keys; Tennessee Commissioner of Correction, Quenton White, and United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Edward Glavic laid a wreath at the memorial.
   "We're seeing a new emphasis being put on Veterans Day with the events going on throughout the world right now," Keys said. "The sacrifices veterans have made have allowed us to have our freedom and the kind of lifestyle we enjoy. I think these kinds of ceremonies for Veterans Day are very important, and it is important that we take time to recognize what our veterans have done."
   Rep. Jerome Cochran presented both a United States flag and a Tennessee flag to the Veterans War Memorial Committee.
   "My father and grandfather both served in the military, and my brother is at West Point," Cochran said, adding that he was born while his father was in Saigon, Vietnam, where his mother was born.
   "My mom talks about how much the United States meant and still means to her, that people would come to liberate her country that didn't even know her."