BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
More than a dozen names of young men who over a period from 1775 to 1865 gave their lives for the cause of American freedom highlighted a solemn ceremony on Sunday.
The Greene County Heritage Trust sponsored the organization's first-ever Veterans Day celebration at the Old Harmony Graveyard, located behind Greeneville Town Hall.
The Nolachuckey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution decorated the graves of the Revolutionary War veterans, which are scattered across the well-manicured cemetery, with flowers and American flags.
Reenactors in period attire called the roll of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War, in recognition of Veterans Day today.
Dr. Jim Fields served as the main speaker for the event, focusing on the topic, "Remembering Our Veterans."
"What a beautiful day to remember our veterans -- but I hope we remember them every day," he said.
He noted three key matters of importance to veterans: faith, family and freedom.
"We have worn out this old adage, but it seems so applicable: freedom is not free," Fields concluded.
Dr. George Blanks, president of the Heritage Trust, opened the ceremony with a brief history of how Veterans Day came to be, explaining that it was first known as Armistice Day when it was established in 1919.
This was a day in which President Woodrow Wilson urged Americans to be "... filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory."
The armistice ending World War I took effect at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. To commemorate that event, Armistice Day -- later changed to Veterans Day -- is always celebrated on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month each year.
Blanks later introduced the roll call of those who lost their lives in combat from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War:
* Ronnie Lail read the roll from the Revolutionary War;
* Chad Bogart read the roll from the War of 1812;
* Greg Isom read the roll from the Mexican War;
* Mike Mankin read the roll for Confederate soldiers of the Civil War; and,
* Tim Massey, read the roll for Union soldiers of the Civil War.
Blanks credited Massey with organizing the ceremony.
He further explained that the day's ceremony concentrated on those veterans who served in the nation's earliest wars.
But he urged everyone to attend the annual Veterans Day ceremony on the steps of the Greene County Courthouse to recognize the more recent veterans.