When Dan Harris posed for a picture at Newfound Gap in 1960, he couldn’t have imagined that his future wife was living nearby in Pigeon Forge. Dan was in the Navy and visiting the Smokies while on leave. I, that future wife, had yet to celebrate my seventh birthday.

Harold Dan Harris was an Alabama farm boy. Following his birthday in 1953 — the year I was born in Sevierville to Leonard and Edna England Huskey — Dan hitchhiked 40 miles to join the Air Force. That recruiter was a no-show, but a smooth-talking Navy recruiter’s pitch fascinated him. He took the exam and soon received a vaguely-worded postcard instructing him to appear on April 9. He set out early, hitching rides once again. Imagine his shock when the recruiter asked, “Are you ready to go in the Navy today? Bus leaves at 10.”