updated from 7/21/21
Both new and familiar activities will make up the 2021 Welcome Home Veterans Celebration. The sixth annual event, happening September 15-19, is a partnership between Visit Clarksville and the Oak Grove Tourism Commission.
The five-day event includes a variety of free exhibits and activities, along with ticketed events like meals and concerts, all designed to show appreciation for the service and valor of America’s veterans. All exhibits, including the American Veteran Traveling Tribute Wall, Field of Honor-Veterans Tribute flag display, General Tommy Franks Mobile Classroom & Road Show, and Cost of Freedom Tribute will be on display at Oak Grove Gaming, 777 Winners Way in Oak Grove, Ky. All exhibits are free and open to the public from 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 16 through 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 19.
Lee Greenwood Concert
CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Grammy Award Winner and American Patriot Lee Greenwood will perform at the Oak Grove Gaming Amphitheater on Saturday, September 18. Local favorite Music for Mercy will open the show at 6:00 p.m., followed by Greenwood at approximately 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com or may be purchased at the gate.
Welcome Home Parade
A Welcome Home Parade happens in downtown Clarksville on Saturday, September 18 at 10:00 a.m. The Miller Brothers from Decatur, Ala. will serve as Parade Marshalls. These five brothers each survived tours in Vietnam.
The parade features JROTC Cadets, marching bands, military vehicles and floats to honor our veterans with a very special “Welcome Home.” The parade will leave the First Baptist Church Parking lot at Commerce St. and Hiter St., proceed on Hiter St. to Franklin St., turn right onto Third St., turn left on Main St., turn left on Second St., turn left on Commerce St. and conclude back at the church parking lot.
The public is invited to watch the parade and cheer the veterans who will be participating. All veterans are welcome to participate in the parade, but are encouraged to register at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com
About the Exhibits
- American Veteran Traveling Tribute Wall is an 80-percent replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC and has been in Clarksville for five of the event’s six years.
- Field of Honor is a dramatic display of full-size, 3′ x 5′ US flags, each purchased in honor of a veteran, active or reserve duty military individual, a first responder, or personal hero. Purchase a flag for display at welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com/product-page/souvenir.
- The General Tommy Franks Mobile Classroom & Road Show is a mobile museum designed to enhance and enrich the learning experience of students. Exhibits include cultural, social and geographical items and information from 25 countries from Africa, the Middle East and South Central Asia including cultural dress, one-of-a-kind handcrafted items, children’s toys, ceremonial items and the first democratic ballot from Afghanistan.
- Cost of Freedom Tribute includes a dedicated Afghanistan & Iraq Warrior’s tribute with all casualty names and Medal of Honor recipients for the Iran Hostage Situation, El Salvador Civil War, Beirut, Lebanon Barracks Bombing, Invasion of Grenada, Operation El Dorado Canyon Libya, USS Stark Bombing, Invasion of Panama, Cold War, Gulf War, Somalia, Khobar Towers, USS Cole Bombing, along with WWI & WWII. Also included in the Cost of Freedom is a special tribute dedicated to the lives lost on 9/11, complete with timelines, casualty listings, Flight 11, Flight 175, Flight 77 & The Pentagon, & Flight 93/PA. It is the only one in the country.
Other Free Activities:
- Veteran Picnic. Veterans and their families are invited to join the celebration for a picnic at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 16 at War Memorial Park in Oak Grove.
- Remembrance Ceremony & Wreath Laying at the American Traveling Tribute Wall. A massing of the colors, tributes and a wreath laying will take place at 6:30 p.m. following the picnic at Oak Grove Gaming to honor the names listed on the tribute wall, Korean Memorial and Cost of Freedom Tribute.
- Welcome Home Parade. The 6th Annual Welcome Home Parade will wind through downtown Clarksville Saturday beginning at 10:00 a.m. JROTC Cadets, marching bands, military vehicles and float will gather to honor our veterans with a very special “Welcome Home.”
- Enjoy an opening dinner on Wednesday evening at Oak Grove’s Valor Hall. Hear a panel of speakers discuss the 30th anniversary of Desert Storm.
- A Hero Breakfast on Thursday morning at First Baptist Church pairs JROTC cadets with veterans and active-duty soldiers for a guided discussion and meal.
- Hear Dave Carey, former U.S. Navy pilot, share his story at Friday’s Valor Luncheon and Recognition at First Baptist Church in Clarksville. Drawing from his experiences as a POW for five and a half years Dave reminds his audiences of the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity; and that we always have choices. Dave's message is real, entertaining, immediate, and challenging and his clients have included IBM, Merck, 3M, Apple, Starbucks, and many others. Among his military honors are the Legion of Merit, five Bronze Stars, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Purple Heart, eight Air Medals, and the Navy Commendation Medal. Quilts of Valor will also be presented during this gathering.
- A closing dinner at Oak Grove Gaming on Saturday evening takes place in a beautiful room overlooking the racetrack.
Tickets are available for all events except the Lee Greenwood concert at www.welcomehomeveteranscelebration.com.
Visit Clarksville and the Oak Grove Tourism Commission thank the following sponsors for making this event possible: Oak Grove Gaming Hotel & Casino, Fortera Credit Union, CDE Lightband, Wounded Warrior Project, Rainbow Inc., Copies in a Flash, United Rentals, AARP, CBE Companies, and Navy Federal Credit Union.
- Matt Cunningham, Visit Clarksville Chairman
“We’re very excited about the partnership with Oak Grove Tourism. It’s a big step toward an event that’s more accessible to more people. We’re also pleased to have Oak Grove Gaming as a major sponsor and offer their property as headquarters for all of the fantastic exhibits that are part of the event this year.”
- Traci Cunningham, Executive Director of Oak Grove Tourism & Convention Commission
“We are beyond thrilled to be partnering with Visit Clarksville to celebrate and welcome home these amazing veterans. We taste freedom every day because of the sacrifices and dedication they made to our country. I look forward to meeting these heroes and welcoming them to Oak Grove. Visit Clarksville has an amazing team and I look forward to partnering with them on future events,” she said.
- Joe Pitts, Clarksville Mayor
“We are always excited to welcome visitors to the great City of Clarksville, and we are always excited to honor America's military veterans, so this event is the perfect opportunity to say, ‘Welcome to Clarksville’ and ‘Thank you for your service.’ Have a great week and enjoy all our area has to offer.”
- Jim Durrett, Montgomery County Mayor
“We are excited to welcome our military veterans from around our nation and the world once again to the annual Welcome Home Veterans Celebration. We hope our visitors will feel the love, patriotism and gratitude the good people of Montgomery County have for the service members who sacrificed on our behalf.”
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