East Tennessee's fallen soldiers honored with "Reading of the Na

East Tennessee's fallen soldiers honored with "Reading of the Names" ceremony

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More than 6,000 names filled the air in World's Fair Park, all being read in recognition of their ultimate sacrifice. More than 6,000 names filled the air in World's Fair Park, all being read in recognition of their ultimate sacrifice.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The names of all of East Tennessee's fallen soldiers were read aloud in a special ceremony at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial in Worlds Fair Park.

More than 6,000 names filled the air in world's fair park, all being read in recognition of their ultimate sacrifice.

Beth Taylor usually attends this event every year with her husband Jerry, a Vietnam Vet, but this year for the first time she came alone.

"He passed away May 3 of last year and he would be here if he could," said Taylor. "He felt like he owed these guys so much."

Every year Taylor would watch as her husband scribed the name of his fellow soldier who died while serving in Vietnam, but over the years she has come to know so many more of the names on this wall.

"I have many friends who are gold star mothers that have their sons names inscribed on these walls and those are the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Taylor.

Twenty new names were also added to the memorial.

"We have a back log of names that have been discovered through research or family members will come forward from past wars and identify names to us who were missed in the initial research of the memorial and we did sadly have to add one more name form the conflict in Afghanistan," said East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association President, Joe Sutter.

Bernice Koprince son's name was added back in 2006 when he was killed by an IED explosion in Afghanistan. She and her husband now volunteer every year to read names.

"My biggest fear is that my child will be forgotten," said Koprince. "So I come down here and if I don't read my sons name I've read a name so that a mom later on can read my sons name when I'm gone."

"We owe a debt that can never repay," added Taylor. "We all need to always remember. Remember all these names never forget."

Taylor says she will be back here next year again to make sure that never happens.

If you would like to donate to the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association and help keep memorials like this possible, click here.
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