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Veterans of all ages honored at Amsouth
Nov 15, 2006 12:00 am
Local Marine Sgt. Mark Tyree, 26, was filled with emotion Friday as he met fellow veterans at a reception in their honor at AmSouth Bank in Mt. Juliet. Tyree was part of the 2004 Fallujah, Iraq invasion and saw much action...so much he doesn't like to talk about it.
But, on Friday Tyree was with his comrades in arms. He was a member of a band of brothers made up of other brave veterans whose service to their country spans three generations and several wars.
Dressed in fatigues, this local soldier was flanked by World War II, Vietnam and Desert Storm veterans humbled by the bank's salute.
"I am honored to sit here today alongside these veterans," Tyree said. "I think they did a lot more than I ever could. I've exchanged some stories with them and will always have respect for anyone who has served. Some of these men next to me fought in our greatest war."
Tyree is back home from this country's latest war and is now in the reserves. Some of the veterans who visited the bank have been home from war for over half a century. All stood proud this special day bank officials set aside to honor them.
AmSouth Bank manager Tammy Green said the day-long reception was a salute to veterans. She was pleased and overwhelmed over the fact nearly a dozen area veterans came to the bank. The vets gathered around a cake made for them and enjoyed looking at area veteran Thelbert Powell's assembled war memorabilia
Young Tyree sat alongside at least four World War II veterans. All well past 75 years old, the craggy faces of these seasoned vets showed the years, but their eyes still sparked with patriotic pride as they recalled the harshness of World War II. Some talked about their war experiences and others, like Tyree, were reluctant.
N.C. Harrison came all the way from Westmoreland. He served in Word War II in the 69th infantry division. He was there in 1945 at the Battle of the Bulge.
"Generally people appreciate the troops and what we do," he said. "We were trying to serve our country. I do not want to see war on our soil. I've been though it and saw what went on over in Europe. We can't have that over here."
His fellow World War II vets served in over 13 major engagements on battleships and on the ground. Vietnam vet Sammy Criswell said the veterans gathered at the bank were a "group of special individuals."
"In a few years there won't be any World War II vets left," he said. "I'm humbled to be in their presence today."
He said on Veteran's Day he thinks about all the people who have died for our country.
"I hope others do too," he said.