By Tamas Mondovics
Overcast skies and the possible rain did not damp the patriotic spirit of Mountain City residents who came to support the annual Memorial Day ceremony, remember the men and woman that paid the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. The ceremony was held on Monday, May 28, 2018, welcoming local, County and State officials, each of whom took the opportunity to express their appreciation for the sacrifice made by many local serviceman and woman in the country’s history. The turnout was exemplary, as both bleachers filled to the limit with many more standing and some sitting on lawn chairs in front of the covered stage at Ralph Stout Park. Former American Legion Department of Tennessee Commander and Johnson County native Robert Hensley served as Master of Ceremonies, while participants included Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe, State Senator Jon Lundberg, State Representative Timothy Hill, Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter, and Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons.
Nancy Davis and the Johnson County Community Children’s Chorus under the direction of Marie-Jo Thum provided musical tributes. With a wreath presentation, by the Johnson County Honor Guard, the Republican Woman and the American Red Cross along with a rifle volley and the playing of “Taps” the event made sure to honor those Johnson County veterans who have passed away. Parsons emphasized that while some memories stand out more than others, remembering those that paid the ultimate sacrifice means for much more.
“Memorial day is to truly honor those that died for our country,” Parsons said. Taking his turn at the lectern, Potter agreed when he said, “This is the time to think of the sacrifices of our serviceman and woman as well as their families for our great country.”
Hill followed suit in his remarks while Roe mentioned that Memorial Day is, “the hardest day for me, as I think about the so many lives that have been lost serving our nation including the 34 from Johnson County that died in WWII, as well as those that lost their lives fighting terrorism.”
Perhaps the most memorable moment came when Lundberg emphasized the importance of the day by thanking the large crowd for supporting the event with their presence.“I want you to please stand up,” Lundberg asked all in attendance. “I want to thank you for being here and honoring those who can not be here.” Aside from a few drops, the rain held off until the end of the event adding to the spirit of this year’s Memorial Day ceremony in Mountain City that was a great reflection of its residents’ support of those that died for their freedom.
American casualties during wars and conflicts:
World War I: 116,516
World War II: 405,399
Korean War: 36,574
Vietnam War: 58,220
Desert Storm: 383
Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation NewDawn: 4,484
Global War on Terrorism: 2,394 as of May 2018
Operation Inherent Resolve(ISIS/ISIL intervention): 61 as of May 2018