KNOXVILLE (WATE) – People across East Tennessee took time Monday to stop and reflect on those who have died serving our country. Many attended a ceremony and re-enactment at the Knoxville National Cemetery.
“It’s a small price to come out here on this beautiful day to this beautiful cemetery, and pause for a moment,” Stewart Smith explained, about how he wanted to do his part this Memorial Day.
“Woke up this morning, saw the beautiful sunshine. It reminded me of how fortunate we are to live in East Tennessee, to live in America. It just gave me that feeling that I want to do something to make sure I honor these folks that have fought and died. That have given us the joy and freedom to live in this beautiful place,” he added.
It’s an annual tradition for Ellie Green and her daughter, and a way to pay respect to a family member they never knew.
“I have an uncle who was killed in World War I and was buried in France. Nobody’s ever been there, but I can’t help but think about him,” Green explained.
Monday’s event at Knoxville National Cemetery was spearheaded by the 79th New York Highlanders. They marched in playing their drum and fife, fired their muskets, played Taps, and did a small re-enactment at the graves.
That was followed by a ceremony by the Daughters of the Union Veterans, held at their 60-foot marble monument, also at the cemetery.
“It’s just a chance to remember the folks who gave their lives, especially the New York Highlanders who fought in the civil war, and all the other veterans that are laid to rest here,” said organizer Bill Sachse.
“It’s the greatest sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, these people have made putting themselves in harm’s way and giving their lives,” Smith said.