Gone but not forgotten... Memorial Day ceremony honors Carter Countians killed in military conflicts

Memorial Day began with rain moving through the area but skies soon began to clear making way for those who gathered at the Elizabethton - Carter County Veterans Memorial to honor those who had given their life in service to the United States of America during six military combats the country has been involved in.
 
That number totaled 258 covering World War I (49), World War II (155), Korean War (20), Vietnam Conflict (30), Desert Storm (2), and Enduring Freedom (1).
 
The ceremony began with the unveiling of a new ceramic art piece designed and created by Karen Hitchcock with Blue River Studios. Metal frames for the art piece were made by students at TCAT.
 
Elizabethton Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Carter who serves as the Chairman of the Veteran Oversight Committee welcomed everyone present and reviewed the order for the ceremony.
 
Students with the United States Navy National Defense Corp. from Elizabethton High School performed the changing of the flags as both the US Flag and the POW-MIA flags were replaced as veterans stood at attention and saluted as the old flags were removed and new ones raised to fly at half staff.
 
Rev. Raymond Amos delivered the invocation followed by Veteran Oversight Committee member Andy Wetzel led those in attendance with the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Loretta Bowers performed 'God Bless the USA' at the conclusion of the pledge.
 
Oversight Committee member Rick Walters presented a Memorial Day reading. During the reading, Walters said, "Today, we honor the more than one million men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation while serving in wars and missions since the American Revolution.
 
"As proud Americans, we should all remember that our freedom is not free. It is only possible because heroes, some from our own families or neighborhoods, have paid a high price. It's that price which enables us to have ceremonies and observances like this in towns across this great country."
 
Gregg Tester shared the POW-MIA Remembrance Ceremony in which Tester told the crowd what each element that was present on the table represented for those still missing in action who have not returned from battle.
 
Names of each of the fallen from Carter County were read from each combat by Boys Scouts of America Troop 516 with audio produced by Veteran Committee member Tom Hitchcock.
 
David Batchelder closed the ceremony with the playing of 'Taps'.
 
Many in attendance were veterans who came to remember their brothers in arms who had not made it home. Also, there were a large number of young people who came to witness the ceremony.
 
Tennessee State Senator Rusty Crowe who contributes the flags that are flown at the Veteran's Memorial was on hand and assisted with the ceramic art unveiling. Crowe also is a veteran.

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