Letter: Veterans thank Pigeon Forge for warm welcome, hospitality

Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:31 PM


On behalf of Vietnam veterans from 28 states and the Tennessee State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, I would like to extend our deepest thanks to the City of Pigeon Forge for your hospitality and emotional outpouring of support during Welcome Home Vietnam.

This extraordinary two-day event and parade, organized and sponsored by Bob Cline of US Tours, brought together Vietnam veterans for a long-overdue Welcome Home of recognition and honor. The Pigeon Forge community responded with warmth, smiles and open arms. We stand united in your debt and look forward to future events in your city and simply spending time (and money, of course) in your city.

I would like to especially thank Mayor David Wear, City Manager Earlene Teaster, Leon Downey of the Department of Tourism and the Pigeon Forge Police Department for their invaluable assistance in planning and participating in this event and parade. Special recognition must also go out to the Dixie Stampede for their opening night program and especially to Charlie Bob Smith of the Smith Family Dinner Theater for his involvement in the initial idea of bringing the Welcome Home to Pigeon Forge and the tremendous show in our behalf.

But, most of all, thank you to the citizens of Pigeon Forge for your warm and open arms. Welcome Home to Vietnam veterans from across the country – a Welcome Home for America’s forgotten, and once disdained, heroes a long time in coming. Pigeon Forge, you stood tall.

Barry W. Rice, President

Tennessee State Council

Vietnam Veterans of America