TOP PHOTO: Upwards of 100 folks turned out on Monday afternoon to honor our local heroes.

La Follette native Ronnie Hill, a veteran of the Vietnam War, was among the attendees on Monday shown here at the reception hosted by Community Trust Bank.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – “Remember our heroes. Share their stories,” said U.S. Army Colonel Marvin Bolinger, retired, during a special ceremony. The colonel’s words did not fall on deaf ears as a crowd of upwards of 100 people gathered on South Tennessee Avenue Monday afternoon to do just that. The 83 members of Vietnam Veterans Chapter 1148, of which Bolinger is a member, hosted the “Local Heroes” program in front of City Hall.

See the full photo gallery of 54 snapshots from WLAF’s Charlie Hutson HERE.

A 21 gun salute ahead of taps closed out Monday’s ceremony.

The ceremony began and ended in efficient military fashion opening with prayer followed by the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Vanessa Dupuy and friends sang the anthem. The colonel recognized the veterans and Gold Star Families in attendance as well as local leaders and City of La Follette personnel for supporting the ceremony and events surrounding it. He also thanked Sue for attending; Sue Stiner, widow of La Follette’s Four-Star General Carl Wade Stiner.

Left to right are Ed Housley, Marvin Bolinger, Rhonda Longmire, Gail Brown, Helen Cordell, Laura Broyles and Sandra Brady.

Bolinger shared some impressive numbers reflecting Campbell Countians rich heritage of service to country. “In World War I more than a thousand served and 39 died while 4,000 were involved in World War II where 150 lost their lives. Many served during Korea and Vietnam with 12 Campbell Countians paying the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War, four each from La Follette and Jellico, two from Caryville and one each from Newcomb and Pioneer,” said Colonel Bolinger. “Remember our heroes” he added from the War of 1812 to the Middle East.

Members of the Campbell County Honor Guard.

Though the lion’s share of those remembered on Monday served in the U.S. Army, Bolinger turned to a Navy tradition, the seven solemn tolls of a U.S. Navy honor bell, to highlight the ceremony.

Laura Broyles tolled the bell seven times acknowledging the deaths of Campbell County Veterans who served and died. Pam Webb looks on.
Veterans Jerry Bowman and Lansden Hill were out in support of their fellow veterans.

The colonel explained the seven tolls. Toll one: The Choice to Serve- This toll represents the veteran’s willingness to sacrifice their life for their country; a dedication to which few are called. Toll two: Camaraderie- The second toll represents the friendships, family, and unity that bond all service members together. Toll three: Patriotism- The third toll represents the veteran’s pride in their country, a duty to protect it, and the joy in celebrating the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. Toll four: Respect- The fourth toll represents the respect given to a veteran by their community, earned by them and owed by us, for their service. Toll five: Dignity- The fifth toll represents the dignity with which a veteran’s community treats their fallen hero. Toll six: Honor- The sixth toll represents the honor that is due to a veteran when they have died, given by their fellow service members and community. Toll seven: The Value of Life- The seventh toll represents the ultimate sacrifice that the veteran has made. Whether killed in action, or after long years of quiet service, the value of a veteran cannot be adequately described by words alone.

Gail Brown, Sue Stiner, Gail Roy, Helen Cordell and Martha Hill are pictured here at the reception hosted by Community Trust Bank.

Bolinger, a La Follette High School Alum, made special reference to the young men from LHS who lost their lives at Vietnam. They are Bill Brooks Long, Corky Huddleston, George Heatherly and Dickie Reagan.

Members of the Campbell County Honor Guard take a well deserved break.

Sandra Cole Brady, Gail Stout Brown, Helen Cordell and Pam Thompson Webb read the 60 names of those remembered under Monday’s mostly sunny sky. Broyles rang the bell twice after each name was read for camaraderie representing the friendships, family, and unity that bond all service members together. See the full list of names HERE.

Veteran Charles McNeeley’s banner was the first one hoisted on Monday morning.

What began with a goal of 30 is now, at last count, 60 of having banners to remember and honor our heroes showcased in town. Banners are now displayed on the street light hangers in Downtown LaFollette. The banners will remain along Central Avenue and other downtown streets through the Independence Day celebration. The banners highlight the heroes who served in the various wars of our nation.

There was a 21 gun salute from members of the Campbell County Honor Guard. Veteran Mickey Webb’s banner is featured on South Tennessee Avenue.
Veteran Vivian Loudy concluded the day with Taps.