KNOXVILLE (WATE) – World War II Veteran J.N. “Smitty” Smith Veterans Day is a special time of the year.
It brings Smith back more than 70 years, to when he served overseas in the U.S. Army. However, Smith said this year’s parade was special. He rode proudly with Captain James Brown, a Vietnam Veteran and member of the Tennessee Model A Club through the streets of Downtown Knoxville.
During the parade, Brown said a little girl came out of the crowd to Smith’s car door and gave him a handwritten letter of thanks. Brown said the girl had written one letter and was waiting for that special veteran.
“It is reassuring as well as touching to see how this child reacted to people who acted to defend the country. A very blessed day indeed,” said Brown.
Smith said the letter, which is signed “Sincerely, Cade,” moved him. He said he plans to frame it.
“It shows that people still remember and appreciate [us],” Smith said during the parade. “I was happy that I was able to serve and do my part. We have an awful good world.”
Smith, who is getting ready to celebrate his 97th birthday said the entire day touched him. Brown agreed and said it was great to have the opportunity to be around people with shared experiences.
“You endured something tough together,” Brown said. “It’s more than a team, because you lived it 24 hours a day, seven days week, and you didn’t know if you were going to make it.”