KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With Veterans Day less than a week away, the Remember Our Fallen Memorial is back in Knoxville for the first time since 2018. The memorial honors the lives of veterans lost since September 11, 2001.
Representative Eddie Mannis said, “It’s 34 towers that really represent the true heroes and those fallen who have given the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11. I hope that you pause and understand that freedom is not free.”
The Krutch Park extension in Downtown Knoxville is now full of 34 tribute towers with the faces of hundreds of our fallen soldiers. The memorial was unveiled nationally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in 2017 and now, for a short time will be in Knoxville. Eight wreaths lay at the front of the memorial, representing each branch of the military and Gold Star Families.
Veteran and father Richard Brunkhorst knows that freedom, isn’t free, as his family has served for generations. “I was in both the Marine Corps and the Army. My father was in WWII and my grandfather was in WWI. I spent nine years in the Marine Corps, I liked that, but then I got out. I joined the Army for three.”
Two of his three sons followed in his footsteps; Scott and Adam joined the Army. One never made it back.
“Scott, he joined right out of high school. he followed my footsteps because I joined out of high school,” Brunkhorst said. “He loved the military. he saved a lot of guys’ lives. He was a Staff Sergeant. His main mission was finding a lot of IEDs and the last one got him. He was killed by an IED.”
That was in 2010, now, he’s honoring his son by traveling with this memorial and presenting the wreath for Gold Star Families. “I was looking for another job and they were looking for another driver. I’m a veteran, I’m a Gold Star father, plus I’m a Class A truck driver and they were like, ‘oh you sound perfect for this.'”
The perfect job that brings back a lot of emotions. “It’s a hard group to join. I wouldn’t wish that for anybody, but once you’re in there, it means a lot.” Now, he’s honoring other families like his.
Staff Sergeant Scott Brunkhorst was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery.
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