SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Many came out to honor the veterans who have served our country at Sevier County’s annual Memorial Day service at the courthouse.
There were more than 140 veterans from Sevier County, who have died just this past year. Some never made it home while others did but have since passed away. All of their names were read out loud at the service.
“My battalion was the first battalion to deploy to desert shield. I was one of the first 800 troops on the ground,” said James Mclaughlin, a United States Army 82nd Airborne Division Veteran.
Today he works with the American Legion, helping other veterans and remembering those who are now gone.
“April a year ago I lost my first roommate in the 82nd,” he explained. “We were bunkmates, and he committed suicide so this day has great meaning for me. It’s a day I’ll spend the entire day off, honoring my brothers that are no longer with me.”
Vernon Dale Gillespie is a United States Army Paratroopers Veteran who said, “I decided to join the service because back then when we were young, that was a thing to do. We join the service to defend our country and protect America, and to keep it what it was.”
After his time in the service, he helped create a memorial statue in front of the Sevier County Courthouse.
“I’m an artist and sculptor and when we did this, what a wonderful experience it was,” he said.
These men are just two examples of the many veterans who continue to serve those past and present on Memorial Day and every day.
The American Legion, along with several VFW chapters, and the Military Honor Guard of Pigeon Forge helped put the Sevier County Memorial Day Service together.