Visit Clarksville, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Veterans Coalition, is proud to host its third annual Welcome Home Veterans Celebration on September 13-17, 2017. Multiple activities will take place 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 Jerry Albert. “We hope that everyone will participate in the events, either by volunteering or attending, and express their gratitude to our servicemen and women.”
Clarksville 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.”
Activities for the Welcome Home Celebration include:
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 p.m. A procession will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. 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 p.m. 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 our 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 veterans’ causes.
A Wreath Laying and Massing of the Colors will take place at the Wall on Friday, September 15 at 3:30 p.m. in honor of National POW/MIA Remembrance Day.
The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial traveling memorial depicts the fallen Marines and Navy Corpsman of Columbus, Ohio-based Lima Company 3/25, one of the most heavily engaged units of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These 23 life-sized portraits have become a powerful traveling veterans tribute to honor the service and sacrifice of all who answer our nation’s call.
Columbus resident and artist Anita Miller worked for two and a half years on the project, which was unveiled in the Ohio Statehouse Rotunda in 2008.
The exhibit will be located at Beachaven Vineyards & Winery, 1100 Dunlop Lane. It will be open for public display from Thursday, September 14 at noon through Sunday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m.
See more at youtube.com/watch?v=mXZZkGiuAeM or www.eyesoffreedom.org.
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 at11:00a.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 are available at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.
Bob Hope Tribute to the Troops will be held on Friday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m. (location to be determined. Bob Hope tribute artist, Bill Johnson, and a cast of others reenact the days when Hope traveled the world with the USO. Tickets are $39 and are available at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.
Welcome Home Parade is Saturday, September 16 at 10:00 a.m. The parade begins at First Baptist Church and proceeds 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 12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.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 7:30 p.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 are available online at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.
The premier sponsor for all event activities is AARP. AARP members can receive an 18% discount on all ticketed events with the WELCOME50. Several local businesses are also sponsors.
To volunteer or participate in any of the activities or events, please contact Frances Manzitto by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 931-245-4345.