TOP PHOTO: The La Follette Fire Department continues its tradition of showcasing Old Glory on Memorial Day from the Peoples Bank parking lot in Downtown La Follette.

Veterans Ernie Cornett, Hugh Hatmaker and John Cain (left to right) attended Monday’s ceremony on the lawn of the courthouse.

By Charlotte Underwood 

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – A crowd gathered at the Campbell County Courthouse for the Memorial Day Veterans’ program on Monday morning.  The annual event honored all veterans, especially those that made the “ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms.”

Campbell County Honor Guard Chaplain J.T. Asbury began the program with prayer.
E.L. Morton, Campbell County Mayor and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col., welcomed the crowd and thanked them for their “patriotism.”
Campbell County Veteran’s Affairs Director Kevin Walden was once again the master of ceremonies. He and his wife Kim also provided special music for the even. Walden is retired from the United States Air Force.
The National Anthem was performed by Avari Owens, daughter of “Fallen Marine Darren and Mary Owens.”

This year’s special guest speaker was Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. The Vice Admiral works at the Pentagon and lives in Washington DC.  He is the nephew of Campbell County Honor Guard member Ernie Cornett.

Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations served on multiple “ashore assignments and tours” and has received multiple decorations and awards. He assumed duties as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics June 27 of 2019. 

Vice Admiral Williamson is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He has been on many sea assignments and tours. He commanded the USS Simpson during NATO’s Standing Naval Forces Atlantic 2004 deployment to the United States, the first such visit by NATO to the U.S. after 911. Under his command,  the USS Simpson won two Battle “E” Awards.

Williamson said it was an honor to be invited to speak in Campbell County on Memorial Day.

Family and friends remembered the fallen.

“We are here today for the remembrance of both people and events. To remember the true heroes that gave their lives for the right to live in the land that is free ” Williamson said.

The Memorial Day program also included a salute to all fallen veterans, the playing of Taps, as well as a presentation of wreaths, and a presentation of the meaning of the 13 folds of the American flag.

Williamson closed his speech asking everyone to remember the sacrifices made by the millions of Americans lost to battle.

Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, (left) is the nephew of Campbell County Honor Guard member and veteran Ernie Cornett.

“As we honor their memory, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their final wish that no other generation of young men and women will ever have to share their experiences or repeat their sacrifices.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/31/2022-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON-REPUBLISHED – 05/29/2023-6AM)