GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — In honor of Veteran’s Day, the city of Gatlinburg hosted its 24th Annual Veterans Day Celebration Saturday morning.
The event started at 11 a.m. and was held at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza.
WATE’s very own Don Dare emceed the event.
The event began with an invocation by Retired Gatlinburg Police Department Captain and Vietnam Veteran Jimmy Maples of the American Legion Post 202, followed by a presentations by the American Legion Post 202 and Girl Scout Troop 20648. Hanna Sloas of the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud sang the national anthem.
During the ceremony, veterans from each brach of the military and in every conflict were honored.
The Gatlinburg-Pitman Chorus sang “God Bless America,” and later in the event, the Gatlinburg Pittman High School Concert Band performed the armed service marches.
The American Eagle Foundation was represented by 6-year-old Bald Eagle Saphira, standing in place of special guest Challenger.
Dare, who is an Army veteran, was presented with a Quilt of Valor for his service in the Vietnam War, where he was stationed in Saigon.
The celebration included a recognition for the Gold and Blue Star Families, and a presentation of the POW-MIA table.
The keynote speaker for the event was retired Army veteran, Command Sergeant Stephen Ball, who has been honored with numerous recognitions, including the Armed Forces Expeditionary, Humanitarian, and NATO service medals, the Legion of Merit, and the Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral Five.