Area veterans honored in 9/11 tribute at Franklin High School
Before last Friday night’s football game, citizens of Macon and Swain Counties came together to remember and thank their local veterans for their sacrifice and service. The event recognized area veterans from every United States wars since- World War II inlcuding, Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ceremony also included a special commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
The event was organized by Franklin’s Rhonda Blanton, Tommy Cabe, and the Booster Club. Local veterans and their guests were allowed a free entrance into the football game. Hundreds of veterans were at the ceremony, in what was an emotional event.
County Commissioners Ronnie Beale and Kevin Corbin, School Board Member and Vietnam Veteran Gary Shields, and Senator Jim Davis also attended the ceremony, along with many other county residents and state and local officials, to give their support to those who sacrificed for this country.
Franklin’s own Blue Ridge performed at the ceremony, singing several songs to honor local veterans, including Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”
“I think any time the community comes together to honor veterans, it is certainly commendable,” said Shields, who served in the U.S. Army Special Forces during the Vietnam War, from 1967-1969. “We are fortunate enough to live in an area that appreciates and gives a lot back to those who served. What Macon County does for its service-members exemplifies quality leadership and true patriotism.”
State and county leaders gave speeches to show their appreciation for local veterans, which was followed by a moment of silence and a 21-gun salute.
“I think it speaks loudly of how Macon County thinks about their veterans. It was an emotional event, and I am thankful that we have citizens who appreciate us,” said Franklin resident and Vietnam Veteran Frank Hunter. Hunter served in the United States Army in Vietnam from 1969-1970.
“I think Franklin has done a really good job in honoring us,” continued Hunter. “Friday’s ceremony and the Veterans Memorial Park speaks volumes about what this county thinks of our service, and after 9/11, I think these type of events make the community more conscious and alert about the price of freedom. I belong to the local Vietnam Veterans Chapter, and we always get comments from people passing through town about the Veterans Memorial Park. People from out of town and other veterans groups are really impressed with the park and Macon County. We pass along pictures all the time, and we always get favorable comments from veterans groups and other people. Again, I really think it speaks loudly about this community and I hope it makes the younger generation more aware about what was sacrificed for their freedom.”