By Mike Steely
On Tuesday, November 22, a very special dedication will take place at the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery on Governor John Sevier Highway. While the cemetery holds the remains of veterans and their spouses, a monument will be dedicated to honor the Gold Star Families, the survivors of those veterans who died while serving in the U. S. Military.
The 10 a.m. dedication at the cemetery will have addresses from Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Tennessee Veteran Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder. The East Tennessee Military Affairs Council will host a post ceremony reception.
American Legion Post 2 partnered with the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation to build the monument. Williams was a Medal of Honor recipient and worked as a cab driver who delivered Western Union telegrams notifying families of their loved one’s death in battle.
“This is a fitting tribute to the sacrifices that our Gold Star Families have made and the American Legion Family is pleased to be part of this project,” the Legion announced.
Instrumental in obtaining the striking monument for Knoxville were Joleen Dewalt, Rene’ Goupil, the American Legion Post 2 and Mayor Burchett. Knoxville has been honored as one of the most patriotic cities in the United States and hosted the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention in 2014.
The Red Basket campaign jumpstarted fundraising efforts to raise $39,000.
Other organizations and people involved in sponsoring the monument includes The American Legion Post 2, Sons of the Legion, Bruce Bosse, Buzz Buswell, Patrice Collins, Nick Cazana, Rochelle Cordova, Kevin Knowles, John Lucas, Marine Corps League, Mountain Men Memorial March, UT ROTC, Dick Powell, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Pitney, Don Smith, Wes Stowers, Joe Thomson, Raymond James, Annette Linstrom Bruns, Vietnam Veterans Chapter 1078, Volunteer Chapter of Gold Star Mothers, Woody Williams and Brent Casey.