By Michael R. Moser
Cumberland Countians were challenged to continue to build a bridge between the legacy of military service of our forefathers to the service to country of family members, friends and neighbors today.
U.S. Air Force Col. James Thompson (retired) told a large crowd of Veterans' Day attendees the way to build that bridge is to honor the memories of the war dead, honor who served the nation through military service, to tell veterans and active duty personnel thanks for their sacrifices, to visit those in VA hospitals and to hire vets when at all possible.
Thompson spoke the heroism of Cumberland County's only Medal of Honor recipient, Milo Lemert, and noted that on the very grounds where Saturday's ceremony was held, in 1919, Lemert's wife, Nellie (Snodgrass), accepted the nation's highest honor on behalf of her late husband.
Thompson moved to Cumberland County after his military career and today runs a law practice in Fairfield Glade that has assisted many local veterans.
Cumberland County Veterans Service Officer William Ward made a special presentation of four replacement medals to Harry Ellis, a glider pilot and reconnaisance pilot who served in China during WWII. Ellis' wife, Anne, pinned the medals on her husband.
Ed Lewis again served as the program's emcee, and members of the Cumberland County Community Band performed patriotic music before and during the observance. T. Shurmur sang the National Anthem and led the crowd in God Bless America.
Veterans of all branches of service and veterans of war were recognized as were the many local military organizations. Special recognition was given to active duty members in attendance and to WWII veterans Andy Dolan, age 94, and Tom Swafford, age 93.
State Rep. Cameron Sexton, Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III and Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. spoke to the gathering.
The Crossville Police Department Honor Guard and the Cumberland County Young Marines also participated. Opening and closing prayer was offered by the Rev. Tom Shelton, chaplain representing the Fleet Reserve Association No. 294 of Cumberland County.