Veterans saluted in Sevier County Courthouse program

Nov. 12, 2013 @ 11:54 PM

For the Veterans Day ceremony at the Sevier County Courthouse Monday, there was lots of reflection on what it means to be a veteran.

With uniformed veterans scattered through the crowd, local officials expressed their gratitude for all who have served in the military and reflected on what it means to serve.

It might have been veteran Bill Voight who summed it up the best.

“What is a veteran? A veteran is a member of the regular forces, National Guard or Reserves. At one time in their lives he or she signed a promissory note to the United States government for an amount up to and including their own lives.”

Voight, a member of VFW Post 10025 in Seymour, led the ceremony for those missing or killed in action, which has become a traditional part of the program at the courthouse.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters pointed to the VA clinic that opened last year on Middle Creek Road as an example of the community’s dedication to its veterans.

“We are extremely fortunate to live in a county that honors our veterans in the manner that we do,” he said.

“You can look and see that our veterans clinic was recently opened as a cooperative effort between local government and federal government. That is very important, I think, to our veterans, that we recognize the sacrifices they make.”

State Rep. Dale Carr was the keynote speaker. Carr, who is not a veteran, said he was honored to have the chance to speak.

“My first thought was, I was not worthy,” he said.

But his father served, he said, and he decided it was exciting to have a chance to express his appreciation to those who did.

“Veterans, you are our heroes. You have done nothing but bring honor and pride to those of us who waited and prayed for your safe return,” he said.

“For this sacrifice, we are as the sinner before Christ who just wept and beat upon his chest so burdened with guilt he could not speak. Words cannot express our gratitude.”

jfarrell@themountainpress.com