Walk of Honor breaks ground

Photo by John Bryant
Taking part in the groundbreaking of the Veterans Walk of Honor Thursday were (left to right) Rev. Bobby Stout, Sara Sellers, Bill Snodgrass representing Congressman Bill Jenkins, Deacon Bowers, Jeanette Hitchcock, Bob Robinson, Roy Merryman, Ralph Cole, David Ornduff and Sam Shipley.

By Lesley Hughes
star staff

  A new phase of honoring Carter County veterans has begun. On Veterans Day yesterday, members of the Elizabethton-Carter County Veterans War Memorial Committee, numerous veterans, and local citizens gathered to honor Carter County soldiers who are still alive as well as those who are deceased.
  The annual event began with a prayer led by Bobby Stout of Pleasant Beech Baptist Church. Marines from the U.S. Marine Corps in Gray performed the wreath laying and raising of the flag to half-mast as Matthew Childress played "Taps."
  During the playing of the song, hearts were tugged by thoughts of family members currently serving in the armed forces, personal experiences of time served, and memories of those who are buried, proof the song held meaning for everyone present.
  As if it were second nature, veterans and citizens stood at attention to salute the half-mast flag as Deacon Bowers, chairman of the committee, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Members of the committee include Sara Sellers; Deacon Bowers, chairman; Jeanette Hitchcock, Bob Robinson, Roy Merryman, Ralph Cole, David Ornduff and Sam Shipley.
  Whitney Arnold entertained the crowd with a stunning and heart warming acappella version of the Star Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key. She also sang "Amazing Grace" and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A."
  Bowers said, "Today we are breaking ground for Phase Two of our Veteran's Memorial Project. David R. Ornduff, our secretary and treasurer of the Elizabethton-Carter County Veteran's War Memorial Committee, will give us a status report."
  Ornduff said, "Phase Two of this project was on the committee's mind even before Phase One of when the place where we are standing today was completed. Phase One and Two of the Carter County Veteran's War Memorial Project were designed by the local firm of Reedy and Sikes. We appreciate those folks.
  "The Veteran's Walk of Honor is to be constructed across Elk Avenue on the railroad right-of-way and will span 340 feet from Elk Avenue to East E Street. An eight-foot high wall which will be 162 feet long will be constructed along the walkway. On each side of the wall will be 3,581 granite bricks, each inscribed with the name of a Carter County veteran, both past and present, and their branch of service," Ornduff said.
  The wall will be divided into two sections along the current South Pine Street, connecting Elk Avenue to East E Street. The area will be lighted and will also have four benches.
  The Walk of Honor will be dedicated next year on Veterans Day. In November 2002, the memorial was dedicated. Robert Reedy of Reedy and Sikes said the bricks are currently being engraved. Construction is estimated to begin in March or as soon as winter weather breaks.