Plenty of activities are planned around the region this year for Veterans Day, which falls on Sunday.
This holiday was established as a way to honor veterans from all of America’s wars. The day also marks the end of World War I and was originally celebrated as Armistice Day in honor of those who served in that conflict. The war ended Nov. 11, 1918, with Germany signing an armistice.
Below are some of the activities planned for Veterans Day this year.
Although Veterans Day is Sunday, East Tennessee State University will celebrate the occasion Friday at the Veterans Memorial in front of Memorial Hall (home of Brooks Gymnasium).
The event will begin at 9 a.m. and feature Col. Kyle Redman as the speaker. ETSU’s Army ROTC cadets will place a wreath while “Taps” is played.
The public is invited to the ceremony but should remember the area of the event is now closed to traffic.
Also planned for Friday is the program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home. It will begin at 1 p.m. in Building 200, Room A061, with retired Col. John McCue as the guest speaker.
Another veteran-themed ceremony will be held at Science Hill High School Friday at 9 a.m. for the groundbreaking of the new Alumni Memorial Circle at the school.
This memorial will honor fallen Science Hill veterans and will be located around the flagpole in the commons area between the school’s old office and auditorium. Names of veterans will be etched in panels attached to brick walls that will surround the flagpole, which will feature an alumni flag that will fly under the American flag.
Science Hill’s JROTC will monitor the area.
The annual Elizabethton/Carter County Veterans Council will hold its annual observance on Friday. Each year, the observance is held at a different high school in Carter County. This year, the ceremony will be held at Cloudland High School in Roan Mountain at 9 a.m.
The Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor a hands-on history program in honor of Veterans Day on Saturday. The event will feature period re-enactors and living historians at the Winged Deer Park Lakefront Festival Plaza from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
According to a news release from the city, attendees will see how soldiers lived during the Revolutionary War through Vietnam. Rations, weapons, medical equipment and more will be on display.
On Saturday at 11 a.m., Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 979 will conduct a Veterans Day ceremony at East Lawn Cemetery in Kingsport. The group also will hold a Veterans Day observance at the Kingsport Veterans Memorial on Monday at 11 a.m.
In Carter County, the annual Veterans Day observance held at the Veterans Memorial in downtown Elizabethton will not be held this year. It is normally held on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Since most veterans will be in church at that time, the organizers of the annual event suggest veterans attend the church of their choice.
On Sunday, the town of Jonesborough will host its annual Veterans Day program beginning at 2:30 p.m. in the Visitors Center auditorium. The keynote speaker will be retired Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joe Kelly, who also is a retired CIA interrogator.
The event will feature patriotic music by the Jonesborough Presbyterian Church Choir.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol Honor Guard and the David Crockett High School Navy JROTC will present the colors.
The newest entries into the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum’s veterans exhibit will be shown.
A reception will follow the ceremony.
Another event also is planned for Sunday at the Johnson City/Washington County Veterans Memorial at 1:30 p.m. U.S. Rep. Phil Roe will speak and music will be provided by the Central Baptist Church Men’s Choir.
This will mark the one-year dedication of the memorial. The memorial committee is taking applications for new names to be added to the memorial, which already features the names of around 1,600 Washington County veterans.
In Johnson County, there will be a Veterans Day Celebration at 11 a.m. on Monday at Heritage Hall, 211 N. Church St., Mountain City. The hall also will host an “Honor Our America” program at 7 p.m. Monday. The program will feature poignant and moving music videos honoring volunteer government officials, emergency personnel and veterans.
In Unicoi County, a Veterans Day celebration will be held Sunday at the Unicoi County Veterans’ Memorial Park in Erwin beginning at 2 p.m. Special guests for the event will be veterans who are Purple Heart recipients. The keynote speaker will be state Sen. Rusty Crowe.
Allan Foster will perform some patriotic songs, and special music will be provided by the Watauga Valley Fife and Drum Corps. Refreshments will be provided by the American Legion Post 25.
Erwin Bureau Chief Brad Hicks and Elizabethton Bureau Chief John Thompson contributed to this report.