Veterans Day is quickly approaching with a weekend of events set for Nov. 13-14.
It will be a day of continued mourning by the friends and family of the late SSG Frank Walkup III, who passed away suddenly on Monday, Nov. 2. Walkup served in the U.S. Army from 1986-1994 during the Operation Desert Storm era.
Of Frank's 9 children, whom he considers to be his greatest accomplishments, four of his sons served or are still serving in the U.S. Army. Three were/are officers, and one was enlisted like his Dad.
The annual Veterans Day Program at the Cannon County High School is set for 8:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13 and the Veterans Day Parade is at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14.
It's the 23rd year for Col. Jim Stone to lead the Veterans Day Program at CCHS and the Veterans Day Parade. "These 23 years have been a wonderful experience and a great honor for me and all of wonderful folks who have supported these events over the years," said Stone.
"All the credit goes to brother Tom Nichols. Brother Tom called me 23 years ago and asked if I would help honor our Veterans in Cannon County. I said that I would give it a shot. Through the years brother Tom always would laugh and say, look at all the fun we are having," the colonel said.
"But, the amazing thing about this story is, brother Tom Nichols is not a veteran. He wanted to be one and tried to enlist but medical reasons kept him from being able to sign on. He remembered the soldiers when they were on maneuvers in the 40's, all over Middle Tennessee, and he wanted to be a soldier, like many of the young boys. We wanted to defend this great country," Stone said.
As usual, a number of Veterans have been selected for honor during the parade.
The Grand Marshal for 2015 is the Bailey Family ( Floyd Bailey Jr., USAF, Mark Bailey, U.S. Marines, Kim Bailey, U.S. Navy).
The Army Grand Marshals are Jason Basinger, Afghanistan and the late Frank B. Walkup III, Vietnam and the late Curtis Fort, World War II.
The Navy Grand Marshal is Paul L. Reed who served during WWII.
The Marine Grand Marshal is Pete Parker, Vietnam.
The Air Force Grand Marshal is Paul Curless,Vietnam.
The Coast Guard Grand Marshal is Robert Virgil Young, in honor and memory.
The POW/MIA Grand Marshal is Louis E. Hillis who served in Korea and was captured as a POW.
The Civilian Concerned Citizen Marshal is Harold Patrick, Mayor of Woodbury, a
great supporter of the Veterans of Cannon County.
"Come on out and let our Veterans know how much we appreciate them, for all of this wonderful freedom we enjoy in the greatest country in the world," Stone said.