During a previous visit to our hometown to show unconditional support for the planned Cleveland/Bradley State Veterans Home, Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Services Many-Bears Grinder declared, …
During a previous visit to our hometown to show unconditional support for the planned Cleveland/Bradley State Veterans Home, Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Services Many-Bears Grinder declared, “For me, every day is Veterans Day.”
Her words struck home, especially to local residents who have long-shown their love for our veterans and their belief in causes associated with the prolonged care, and well-being, of our soldiers — past, present and future.
And so it is that Saturday will bring a new look to our community’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony. Not only will new faces of leadership blend with the old, but the commemoration itself will be held on the weekend, rather than a weekday observance that traditionally brings out the red, white and blue of our downtown community.
It is our hope Cleveland and Bradley County residents will continue to support the inspiring ceremony, regardless of day of the week and geographic location. Due to the recent Courthouse fire, Saturday’s event has been moved to the First Street Square. Traditionally, the Veterans Day Ceremony is held atop the Courthouse Plaza.
This year’s Veterans Day event will welcome some new faces, and it will take the opportunity to honor some old ones whose names remain as much a part of Veterans Day as the ceremony itself.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland will no longer emcee the patriotic event although he will be on-site to make a special presentation. His successor will be Brandi King, senior communications specialist at Whirlpool. A Bradley County native with roots in Charleston, she is a former co-anchor for “Good Morning, Chattanooga,” which airs on WTVC NewsChannel 9.
She joined Whirlpool earlier this year.
Steve Stewart, who has coordinated the program for years, will be stepping down, as well. However, he will be introducing his successor for future patriotic ceremonies — Pedro Gonzales.
The guest speaker will also be wearing the look of youth. He is Josh Roe, a longtime TV news anchor who is part of the WTVC news team. Roe isn’t just a newsman. He, too, is a veteran having spent eight years in the U.S. Marines.
In spite of some new looks, Saturday’s ceremony will include much of what has made the Veterans Day event so popular over years past.
Bradley County veteran Mary Baier will be introducing this year’s recipient of the Raymond H. Miller Patriotic Award. Also, former Bradley County Executive Eddie Cartwright will resume a tradition handed down by his family; that is, the ringing of the plowshare, a ritual dating back to the close of World War I.
Also on hand will be patriotic music by the Cleveland High School band that has opened the Veterans Day Ceremony for 52 years. Jim Burton directs the popular band.
Presenting and posting the colors again will be the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Chattanooga Division.
Many familiar faces — representing families who have been a part of Cleveland and Bradley County for decades — will be on hand in support of their respective organizations, as well as local veterans. Just a few of the represented groups will be VFW Post 2598, American Legion Post 81, DAV Chapter 25, Vietnam Veterans Chapter 597, AmVets Post 13, Sons of the American Revolution, Voiture 735 of the 40/8 Mike Dickey, Sons of the American Legion Chapter 81, AmVets Post 13 Ladies Auxiliary and Ocoee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, among others.
The ceremony will close with a military rifle salute by the Bradley County Funeral Honor Guard.
As is the tradition of Veterans Day ceremonies, Saturday’s observance will get underway at 11 a.m.
We encourage the public’s attendance.
It is not just about recognizing an individual soldier. It is about paying tribute to the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform — past, present and future — and the American idealism their service has protected for as long as our nation has stood strong as a global leader.
In a day and age when the American spirit is tested daily, it is reassuring to know Cleveland and Bradley County remains a community in full support of those to whom we owe so much — our veterans.
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