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Town recognizes veterans, their families

Dr. Christian Zembower and The Johnson City Community Concert Band demonstrates their patriotism through music.


H&T Correspondent

Jonesborough’s Memorial concert was held at the Jonesborough Visitors Center on Sunday, May 26, to honor the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers.

The event took place from 2:30 to 3:30 with a reception afterwards. It was the 20th Memorial Day concert to take place in Jonesborough.

The concert was hosted by the Jonesborough’s Board of Mayor and Alderman and the Veterans Affairs committee.

Marion Light, chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the emcee of the event, said that the concert was not just to recognize the veterans who’ve devoted their lives to their country, but also for their families

“Every person who enters the military understands that death could be the result,” said Light, who served 12 years in the Army.

The concert began with the Tennessee Highway Patrol Honor Guard and the Daniel Boone High Junior ROTC Honor Guard to forward the colors.

The Honor Guard presented the U.S. and state flags, which were donated by the Jonesborough Civitan Club.

Craig Ford gave the opening prayer and comments.

Before giving a heartfelt prayer asking for the Lord to be with those in the military and their families and to give them courage for what they face, he told several stories focusing on the fact that life is precious and should be cherished.

Mayor Chuck Vest was the next to speak and welcomed everyone to the event.

“It’s a celebration of the fallen that is never ending,” said Vest.

Vest requested those present to take the time to look at the flags flying throughout the community and remember the veterans who laid down their lives so that everyone in this country could live free. He also asked for the families to be remembered because the death of a soldier impacts their loved ones in ways many don’t understand.

“We must all feel blessed to have our veterans serving and protecting our country and our freedom,” Vest said before introducing the band.

The musical guest for the event was the Johnson City Community Concert Band, directed by Christian Zembower.

The band performed seven patriotic songs, one of which was conducted by Torey Hart, a member of the band.

Before each song Zembower told background information about the individual song, it’s composer and what inspired the composition.

The songs were Commando March; Duty, Honor, Country; Flag of Stars; American Flourish; Hail to the Spirit of Liberty; America the Beautiful; and the Armed Forces Salute.

Josh Smith, WJHL news anchor, narrated the speech by Gen. Douglas MacArthur that inspired the song as the band performed Duty, Honor, Country.

Zembower called each military branch to stand as the band played Armed Forces Salute.

Light then read the Roll Call of Sacrifices, giving the killed in action dates for each purchased brick at Veterans Park.   

As Light read the names and dates, sniffling could be heard from around the packed room, mostly occupied by veterans from the Vietnam and Korean Wars and their families. 

The Honor Guard retired the colors and Light concluded the event by asking for a round of applause for the band, ROTC and Honor Guard. 

The reception was hosted by Patti Blackwell, Lacey D’Avella and Kathleen Cook, from the Visitors Center.

Food was donated by Bojangles, Food City, Pals and Rocky’s Pizza.