GREENEVILLE, TN (WJHL)- In Greene County, more than 250 soldiers went off to war and never came home.
The Greene County community raised $70,000 over the last few years to create a veteran’s memorial to honor those men and women who lost their lives for our country.
Monday marked the first Memorial Day ceremony at the new veteran’s memorial.
Hundreds of names are engraved on the new monuments and on the hearts of the families they left behind. One of those men is William Malone, a 19 year old whose mom still feels the void her son left decades ago.
“I lost my son in ’69 in Vietnam, he was killed,” Mary Malone said. “I still miss him.”
For families like the Malones, this monument in Greeneville serves to honor their sons and daughters.
“It means a lot for them to come and show their respect for the ones who have lost,” Malone said.
At the heart of the ceremonies and monuments, is the hope of not forgetting the people behind the names, and what they did to keep our freedom alive.
“Seems a little, almost not enough to say thank you, but truly what else is there to say? So to all the veterans who never came home, and in our future will not come home from the longest war we’ve ever fought, we all as Americans say thank you,” Lizzie Watts, the superintendent of Andrew Johnson Historical site said.
Commander of The American Legion Post #64 Grady Barefield had a word for the mothers who never got to welcome their sons and daughters back home, “You are a hero that walks among us, though your name will never grace a monument or a medal every grace your neck, in dedication to the freedom of the land you rank among the bravest that has ever faced the unknown ahead of them. Your sacrifice is more than we could ever ask for and the country owes you a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.”
Barefield and a team of volunteers are raising money to honor more veterans, and build additional monuments.
On Friday, they are hosting a fundraiser cookout at the veteran’s memorial in Greeneville from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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