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Lebanon to honor veterans
Nov 10, 2012 4:00 pm
Lebanon will honor America’s veterans with a day filled from sunrise to sunset with activities.
The city’s Veterans Day observance will begin Sunday with a religious service at 7 a.m. at the Wilson County Courthouse.
Immediately following the service, registration will begin for the Veterans Park and Museum 5K, which will begin and end at the courthouse. Proceeds from the 5K will help fund the Veterans Park and Museum currently in the works.
The Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m., leaving from the Wilson County Library.
Military units and vehicles, veterans marching and riding, veterans’ organizations and auxiliaries, youth units, emergency vehicles, civic organizations and bands will travel around the Lebanon Town Square to the Wilson County Courthouse.
"Some of the runners who are veterans will probably stop at the library and follow the parade in, and others will come on back to the courthouse and meet the parade there,” said Bernie Ash, head of the Wilson County Veterans Service Office.
A ceremony will follow the parade, beginning promptly at 11 a.m. at the courthouse.
Navy Capt. John Bentley, a fighter and commercial pilot with 30 years military service, will give the principal address. The day will include words by the Post 15 chaplain, a salute to all veterans of the county and recognition of the county's Gold Star mothers.
The event will culminate with the placing of the wreath at the county Veterans Monument. The event will close with taps by the Watertown High School Band.
But that will not conclude the events in Lebanon.
Marchers will begin their treks from the north, south, east and west to meet in the Square by 5 p.m. The participants will each march a 30-mile route in honor of the four people killed in the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
The event, dubbed the Tennessee Four Points of the Compass March, grew out of the Fallen Soldier March, originally a nine-mile march in Lebanon.
“The whole point of this is not to bring attention to ourselves, but to try to create a realistic perspective of what our soldiers go through,” said Jim Retzke, president of the Fallen Soldier March organization.
Participants will also accept donations as they march, and all money collected will help purchase service dogs for wounded soldiers. These service dogs can cost from $10,000 to more than $30,000 each.
"There are men who came home who need help," Retzke told members of the Lebanon Rotary Club recently. "They need service animals. It costs between $10,000 and $30,000 for a trained service dog."
Service dogs can help veterans coping with visual or hearing impairments, seizures, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or a variety of other physical disabilities.
Anyone making a donation at the event will receive a Fallen Soldiers March T-shirt. Donations may also be made through PayPal at fallensoldiersmarch.com or at any Wilson Bank location.
According to Retzke, the Patriot Riders will again escort marchers into the square, and there will be music and speakers dedicated to the fallen.
Staff writer Sara McManamy-Johnson can be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 16 or firstname.lastname@example.org.