In 2019, the national day set aside to honor those who have served the nation in the military was celebrated locally with the annual community service and the installation of a new monument at Veterans Memorial Park.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a disruption of that community service this year and the installation of the new monument at the park.
The annual community service, hosted by American Legion Post #64 and the Greene Honor Guard will not be occurring this year, according to veterans organization officials, due to the increase in cases of the virus recently and the concern that a service might contribute to the spread.
However, plans are to install a new monument engraved with the names of local veterans by the end of the year, according to Grady Barefield, chairman of the Greene County Veterans Park Committee.
The goal had been to have the new stone installed by Veterans Day, which is Wednesday, but due to the coronavirus and the longer time period than expected in collecting names, that was not able to be accomplished, Barefield said, who said he was disappointed that the monument was not in place and that the Veterans Day service was not able to be held.
“I hate that we not going to be able to have it because i look forward to honoring all our veterans on this special day for their honorable service to our country,” he said. “We have worked real hard on making our Veterans Memorial looking nice for people to visit on this special day.”
The new monument should be in place by the end of December, Barefield said.
This new stone will be the fifth to be installed in the park, and is planned to be placed in the next phase being developed in the park on Forest Street. New monument stones will be placed in this phase in an area near the circle that contains the first four monuments and a nearby pavilion. The development will also make the pavilion handicapped accessible.
The four stones contain 225 names on one side, honoring a total of 900 veterans so far. The eight newer stones planned in the second phase will be arranged so that names can be engraved on both sides for a total of 450 per stone.
Names are still being collected for inclusion on monument stones. For their name to etched into the memorial stone, veterans must have been born in Greene County or be a current or former resident. Veterans can be either living or deceased and served active duty or in a reserve unit.
Brochures that list details about the eligibility requirements and other information about the memorial stones can be found at the Greeneville Post Office. There is a $50 inscription fee to help cover costs for the engraving and maintaining the memorial. However, no fee is charged for veterans who were prisoners of war or are listed as missing in action.