Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


January 22, 2013

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Honoring Milo Lemert

CROSSVILLE — Last week, a letter to the editor was headlined “Answers found on Milo Lemert.” The letter, written by Donna King, a newcomer to Cumberland County, was a native of Savannah, TN in Hardin County.

She remembers crossing the Milo Lemert Bridge in Savannah almost daily. Donna knew he was a WWI hero and assumed he was from Hardin County. When she moved to Crossville she learned the truth about Lemert.

Milo Lemert, killed in 1918, was awarded the Medal of Honor but for 69 years his modest grave in Crossville had no mention of his heroic action. I went to the bulging file I began in 1988 on Lemert. That was the year he was rescued to become an important part of Cumberland County history.

Mike Moser, editor of the Chronicle, tells the story in his column. In 1986 he attended Tennessee USA at the Playhouse and in one scene a placard appeared with the name Milo Lemert, Congressional Medal of Honor. Too bad we don’t know who found that almost lost bit of history. Because of it Mike began a search which ended at the modest gravesite. On Decoration Day in 1987, military services were held and an appropriate gravestone was installed.

1988 was the year I began writing for the Chronicle and I too got caught up in the Lemert story. During a cruise on the Mississippi River, we passed under the Milo Lemert Bridge. I wanted to know the story of this bridge and so began phone calls and letters to Savannah.

I received a story on the bridge from Savanna’s Courier newspaper dated August 21, 1980 with pictures showing the destruction of the long serving Milo Lemert Bridge.

In 1821 a ferrying operation carried travelers on the path that would become State Highway 15 and finally U.S. 64. A committee appointed by the Hardin County Court began working for a bridge in 1921. Finally in 1926 they got a promise from the governor that they would receive funding for the construction of the second largest, longest and costliest bridge outside Nashville, Chattanooga or Knoxville. Residents called it the Million Dollar Bridge on 15.

The  Milo Lemert Bridge opened on September 13, 1930 after a three hour dedication ceremony, observed by an estimated 3,000 people. Speeches were given by the governor, a number of senators and other important officials. Few knew why homage was paid to Milo Lemert. Some knew he was some kind of a hero but to children he was a worker who fell into fresh concrete and was entombed in a pier.

From one of my correspondents in Savannah was an ad on Dec. 15, 1994 for a Hardin County afghan. One of the pictures appearing on the blanket is the Milo Lemert Bridge.

Since 1988 Crossville has remembered their WWI hero in many ways. I will always remember the words he wrote to his mother shortly before his death. “As for me I can shut my eyes and dream such sweet dreams of Tennessee that I’m sure I’ll have to be chained in heaven if I do get bumped off in No Man’s Land.”

• • •

Dorothy Copus Brush is a Fairfield Glade resident and Crossville Chronicle staffwriter whose column is published each Wednesday. She may be reached at

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice