Bradley County will honor the memory of those who have died in service to this country during the annual Memorial Day celebration at the Bradley County Courthouse Plaza at 10:30 a.m. on Monday.
The guest speaker will be Matthew Ward, local pastor and Tennessee Army National Guard 176th Combat Service Support Battalion chaplain.
Ward enlisted in the Marines in 2001.
After achieving the rank of corporal, he was released to pursue the chaplaincy. He joined the North Carolina Army National Guard while at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ward served a combat deployment to Iraq in 2009 and also a mobilization to support Fort Riley, Kan., in 2010.
He is currently the pastor of West Cleveland Baptist Church.
“For Memorial Day, I like to get a pastor who has been in the military, but that’s sometimes hard to do,” event organizer Steve Stewart said.
He said his inspiration for selecting a speaker comes from keeping up with local news and talking to people about who would be good to feature.
The event is sponsored by Bradley County’s many veterans organizations.
Time will be devoted to remembering the veterans of Bradley County who died while serving in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq.
Members of the Southeast Tennessee Young Marines will read the names listed on each of the Courthouse monuments dedicated to the memory of the veterans.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland will give the last roll call.
“That’s Bradley County veterans that have passed away in the last year,” Stewart said. “There’s an average of 200 names each year.”
Stewart encouraged those with lawn chairs to bring them, as the seating provided will be limited.
Evangelist Larry Timmerman will give the invocation. The U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Chattanooga Division, will participate in the flag presentation. Bradley County Veterans Firing Squad will give a 21-gun salute. The Cleveland High School Band Buglers and Drummers will play taps.
The Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council will also be presenting its inaugural Veterans Service award.
In the event of inclement weather, the Memorial Day observation will be moved to VFW Post 2598, located at 3370 N. Ocoee St.