CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Visit Clarksville, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Veterans Coalition, is proud to host its third annual Welcome Home Veterans event September 13-17, 2017. Multiple activities will be happening during the five-day period to celebrate and honor veterans, with an emphasis on Vietnam veterans.
“There are activities throughout the week for all veterans, but there are also opportunities for the public to honor our veterans,” said Visit Clarksville Chairman Louisa Cooke. “We hope that everyone will participate in the events, either by volunteering or attending, and express their gratitude to our servicemen and women.”
Visit Clarksville Board Member, City Councilman and U.S. Air Force Veteran Geno Grubbs was visibly moved after hearing about all of the activities slated for the week. “This is one of the best things our community has ever done to honor veterans,” he said.
Here are the activities planned so far for Welcome Home Week:
American Traveling Tribute Wall at Beachaven Vineyards and Winery: The American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) presents the Traveling Wall, an 80 percent scale version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. Across its 360-foot length, the wall contains the names of every name that is etched on the original monument. At its apex, the memorial is an impressive eight feet tall.
The Wall will arrive in Clarksville on Wednesday, September 13 at 3:00 pm. A procession will begin at approximately 3:30pm from Appleton Harley Davidson on US 41-A Bypass and proceed down Madison Street to University Blvd. to College Street out to Beachaven. The Wall will open for public display at noon on Thursday, September 14 and will be open 24 hours a day until 3:00 pm on September 17. The Wall is being sponsored by the Ft. Campbell Historic Society and Sykes Funeral Home.
Field of Honor – Veterans Tribute flag display will also be at Beachaven Vineyards and Winery September 14-17. Part of a nationally recognized community program, the Field of Honor will pay tribute to the strength and unity of Americans, and will honor veterans who served our nation to preserve our security and freedoms.
Flags may be purchased in honor of veterans or first responders from the event website, www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com, at http://www.healingfield.org/clarksville17/ or by calling 931-647-2331.
Flags may be sponsored for $ 40 and will be tagged with your honoree’s information. Purchased flags will be available for pick up after the event. Net proceeds will benefit veteran’s causes.
A Wreath Laying and Massing of the Colors will take place at the Wall on Friday, September 15 at 3:30 pm in honor of National POW/MIA Remembrance Day.
The USS LST 325 will be in Clarksville from September 6-16. Known as “the ship that won the war,” this 328-foot-long landing ship tank was built in 1942 and has been restored to its original condition. The LST 325 is the only ship of its kind that is fully operational in the U.S. A crew of WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans will conduct tours of the LST 325 during its visit. General admission is $ 10; children 6-17 is $ 5 and WWII veterans and active duty military in uniform are free.
Operation Stand Down – Veterans Festival will be held September 13-14, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at Daymar Institute, 2691 Trenton Road. Operation Stand Down Tennessee’s Clarksville office will be hosting the 2017 Veterans Festival to salute the service and honor the sacrifices of all veterans and their families. Services such as benefits counseling, dental examinations, employment, education, family activities, medical examinations, caregiver/peer support, recreation and community integration will be available during this event at no cost to veterans.
A Remembrance Ceremony at First Baptist Church will take place at First Baptist Church, 435 Madison Street, on September 14 at 7:30 p.m. Held on the eve of National POW/MIA Remembrance Day, this free ceremony is open to the public and will include music, speakers and a time of remembrance.
A luncheon with Vietnam POW Bill Robinson will be held in honor of National POW/MIA Remembrance Day, Friday, September 15 at 11:00 a.m. at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center, 1190 Hwy. 48.
On September 20, 1965, Airman 1st Class Bill Robinson began a typical mission day as part of the team trying to rescue a downed pilot in North Vietnam. Enemy ground fire downed their helicopter and the crew and pilot were captured. The Vietnamese would not release Robinson for 7 years and 5 months, making him the longest-held enlisted man in US military history. Luncheon tickets are $ 22 and available at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.
Bob Hope Tribute to the Troops will be held on Friday, September 15 at 7:30p.m. (location to be determine. Bob Hope tribute artist, Bill Johnson, and a cast of others reenacts the days when Hope traveled the world with the USO. Tickets are $ 39 and available at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.
Welcome Home Parade is Saturday, September 16 at 10:00a.m. The parade begins at First Baptist Church and proceed to the Montgomery County Courthouse. Veterans should register to be in the parade at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com. Applications are also available for floats and other parade participants.
A Celebration Picnic and Bluegrass at Beachaven will take place on Saturday, September 16 from 12:30p.m.-3:00p.m. Veterans are invited to this complimentary picnic lunch at Beachaven following the parade, but must have a ticket to attend. Tickets will be available from the Visit Clarksville office and other locations to be announced beginning July 1.
The American Pride Concert is the week’s finale on Saturday, September 16 at 7:30p.m. at a location to be determined. American Pride has brought back the songs, memories and authentic sounds of the most award-winning act in country music history, the legendary Statler Brothers. Veterans can attend free, but will need a ticket. Others may purchase tickets for $ 25. Tickets available online at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.
The premier sponsor for all event activities is AARP. Local sponsors include Beachaven Vineyards & Winery, AseraCare and Exit Realty Screamin’ Eagle.
To volunteer or participate in any of the activities or events, please contact Frances Manzitto by email at [email protected] or call 931-245-4345.