Thousands honor local heroes at Knoxville's Veterans Day Parade

Thousands honor local heroes at Knoxville's Veterans Day Parade

Posted:
Thousands of people turned out Monday morning to support local veterans at Knoxville's Veterans Day Parade. Thousands of people turned out Monday morning to support local veterans at Knoxville's Veterans Day Parade.
Thousands of people, young and old, were cheering. Thousands of people, young and old, were cheering.
The parade was a way to thank the men and women who fought for our country. Veterans lined the sidewalk to honor fellow veterans. The parade was a way to thank the men and women who fought for our country. Veterans lined the sidewalk to honor fellow veterans.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Thousands of people turned out Monday morning to support local veterans at Knoxville's Veterans Day Parade. The 88th annual parade kicked off on Gay Street in Downtown Knoxville. Some local Vietnam veterans say this was the homecoming they never received.

High school marching bands brimming with American pride marched down Gay Street.

"I was getting tears in my eyes," said Coast Guard Veteran Deborah Hampshire.

The parade was a way to thank the men and women who fought for our country. Veterans lined the sidewalk to honor fellow veterans.

"My father was army, my uncle was air force. It's a family thing," added Hampshire.

Monday's parade was a salute to their sacrifices.

"They go out to some of the harshest areas in the world to defend our freedom, and it's not an easy life. I support them all," said Air Force Veteran Tim Hull.

Thousands of people, young and old, were cheering.

"I'm just overwhelmed with pride that these people have sacrificed. They've sacrificed their lives, time away from their families, and their families have sacrificed," said parade goer LeAnn Latham.

Parents used the parade as a history lesson.

"I think it's important for me to teach them what it means," said mother of two Hannah Stuart.

For Vietnam veterans, the parade was the homecoming they never received.

"I get handshakes and hugs from kids," said veteran Tony Sprodling.

While they're thankful having made it back from Vietnam, on Veterans Day they're remembering the ones who were killed in action.

"The real heroes are the ones that didn't make it back," said veteran Henry Carson.

For fifth graders from Friendsville Elementary, this was more than just a field trip.

"I'm thinking that they've been through everything and tried to serve our country and let us be free," said student Dixiana Wilburn.

Thousands of American flags were waving as a point of pride.

"It proves that we are free. I had the young people down there hollering, 'USA, America we're number one!' Why are we number one? Because of these veterans. Because they gave so much," said wife of a veteran Willamae Brown.

President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11 as Armistice Day or Veterans Say in November 1919. Currently there are more than 525,000 veterans of all ages calling Tennessee home.

There will be a Veterans Parade in Anderson Country Tuesday at 6 p.m. on Market Street in Clinton. In Pigeon Forge, there will be a Salute to Veterans on Tuesday starting at 4:30 p.m. on the north side of Pigeon Forge Parkway.

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