CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County saluted its veterans Monday during a Memorial Day service at the county courthouse.
The courthouse plaza was already a sea of red, white and blue American flags as the Bradley Central High School JROTC color guard posted the colors.
Chris Mitchell, chief operating officer of Life Care Centers of America and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, was the keynote speaker.
"We remember because, if we do not remember, we risk forgetting that freedom is not free and eternal vigilance is the price demanded for our freedom," Mitchell said.
"On this Memorial Day, we are once again involved in hostilities in foreign lands," Mitchell said. "Our soldiers are once again fighting and dying for the ideals our nation holds so dear.
"With over 47,000 killed or wounded in action as part of the war on terror, the youth of our nation continue to fight and die for a cause larger than themselves."
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland was master of ceremonies and read a last roll call of names of veterans who died in Cleveland in the past year. Echoing the speech given Sunday night by retired U.S. Gen. Colin Powell during the National Memorial Day Concert, Rowland urged the nation not to forget its wounded warriors in today's wars.
Many veterans and their families attended the downtown ceremony.
A Vietnam War veteran, Jerry Goodner participates in fishing tournaments aboard his red, white and blue boat that displays an American eagle across its side, an icon that he said he hopes urges all to remember the sacrifices.
"This is my way of saying thanks to those who did serve, are serving and are going to serve their country," Goodner said. "It's just a way to show my appreciation and remind other people, when they see it on the highway or at a fishing tournament, about the price paid."
Contact Randall Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-314-1029.