JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Veterans Day events and celebrations begun in earnest Friday across our region; Johnson City held several on Friday to honor those who've served our country.
It's an annual tradition at Science Hill High School to bring the entire student body together, along with the community, to honor the nation's veterans.
Each branch of service was recognized and each individual faculty and staff was also recognized for their service. The school's Junior ROTC plans a 'Fallen Heroes' memorial for the center of campus.
East Tennessee State University held its celebration in the center of their campus. Along with students and staff, Tennessee's largest chapter of Rolling Thunder had a presence as well to honor veterans.
"We have to respect those that have fallen, those that were lost, the ones that have still not recovered, the missing in action and of course the prisoners of war. We have a large chapter of ex-POWs here in east Tennessee," Alan Sipe, local chapter president, says.
Also honored were the nation's future soldiers, the ETSU ROTC cadets. "They're going to be our future servicemen and women and we have to honor and respect them too," Sipe added.
A wreath was laid beneath the American flag in the center of campus as part of the college celebration. The guest speaker talked of respect for all who give their service to others. "I think that respect that we have not for our veterans and anybody that serves in the military and anyone that really is an emergency responder, anything like that. We have great respect for them now," speaker Colonel Kyle Redman said.
A subdued but sincere ceremony was held at Johnson City's Veterans Administration Hospital. Their guest speaker spoke of honoring not just the greatest generation to serve but the latest generation serving. It was a fitting location that celebrates everyday.
"It's Veterans Day everyday at the VA hospital. We get everyday to come to work and take care of heroes and it's the most special thing," center director Charlene Ehret said.
And a special weekend as the nation pauses to just say 'thank you for your service.'