Annual "Reading of the Names" held in Knoxville for Memorial Day

Annual "Reading of the Names" held in Knoxville for Memorial Day

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By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - To celebrate Memorial Day, the names of all East Tennessee members of the armed forces who have been killed while serving their country were read aloud at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial in Knoxville.

The names of more than 6,200 soldiers who have died defending America are etched into the memorial, from World War I up to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Each one has a family. Each and every name was somebody. Someone's son. Someone's brother," said Tim Eichhorn of the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association. "We're remembering who they are and what they did for us."

More than 100 volunteers gathered Monday for the annual Reading of the Names, when every single name is read aloud, including the ten new ones that have been added this year.

"We remind the world that they did exist and that they did pay that ultimate sacrifice for us," said Rochelle Cordova, a volunteer reader.

The event is a way to honor and thank the members of the military from East Tennessee who paid a costly price for American freedom.

That includes members like Marine LCPL William Koprince of Lenoir City. His parents were volunteer readers Monday.

"Our son was killed December 27, 2006 in Iraq," said Bernice Koprince, William's mother.

She says it is tough to see his name on the memorial, but it's comforting to hear his name said aloud.

"My biggest fear is that my child will be forgotten," said Koprince.

She is thankful his sacrifice is being honored, and says it's a good reminder to everyone that freedom is certainly not free.

Koprince hopes William's sacrifice, along with the sacrifice of thousands of others who have lived and died for freedom, is remembered not just on Memorial Day, but everyday.

"They're heroes to all of us," said Eichhorn.

It took nearly five hours for the volunteers to read through all the names.

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