Events honoring veterans slated for Monday and Tuesday

Nov. 11, 2013 @ 12:08 AM

In addition to special services at area churches today and events held at local high schools this past Thursday and Friday, a number of events are scheduled in observance of Veterans Day tomorrow and Tuesday.

n Monday, Nov. 11

  Gatlinburg — The 11th annual Gatlinburg Veterans Day Celebration will begin at 11 a.m. on Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza. Activities will include a military aircraft flyover, patriotic music, recognition of veterans in attendance, remembrance of fallen comrades, and stirring words from notable veterans.

Featured special speaker is retired Air Force Lt. Colonel David L. Evans who was recently commander of the 119th Command and Control Squadron based in Knoxville.   The event will also include The American Legion Post 202 Honor Guard, music from the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Band, a presentation by the American Eagle Foundation and a salute to each branch of the service.  

  Sevierville — Sevier County will host its annual Veterans Day Ceremony on the courthouse steps in downtown Sevierville beginning at 11 a.m. State Representative Dale Carr will speak, the Smoky Mountain Community Band will play and five local service organizations (Marine Corps League Detachment 1206, American Legion Post 104 and 202, the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 94 and Veterans of Foreign Wars POst 10025) will participate.

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Tuesday, Nov. 12

  Pigeon Forge — Vietnam War veteran and Pittsburgh Steelers football legend Rocky Bleier will be the grand marshal of Pigeon Forge’s third annual Salute to Veterans Parade.

The parade is Tuesday, Nov. 12, and is the lead-in to the city’s Winterfest Kickoff event. It will start in the south end of Pigeon Forge and finish at Patriot Park.

Kickoff activities include speeches by city officials, live entertainment, fireworks and the traditional flipping of the switch to turn on the city’s 5 million Winterfest lights. Bleier was drafted twice after graduation from Notre Dame – first by the Pittsburgh Steelers and then by the U.S. Army. He entered the Army after his rookie NFL year, volunteered for Vietnam duty and was severely wounded in 1969. He staged an improbable comeback from his war wounds with the Steelers and played on four Super Bowl championship teams.

The parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Jehu Street and proceed north to Patriot Park. Winterfest Kickoff festivities at Patriot Park begin at approximately 6 p.m.