The popular service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 31, at the Bradley County Courthouse.
Guest speaker for this year’s program will be Aubrey Wayne Carter, an assistant district attorney for Tennessee’s 10th Judicial District. Carter is a retired U.S. Army colonel.
This year’s program will be dedicated to the memory of longtime veterans advocate John Simmons, who passed away during the past year. Simmons served as co-chairman of the Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs for many years.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, who has long been a popular master of ceremonies for the Memorial Day service, is unable to participate this year due to injuries suffered in a recent automobile accident. The city’s mayor is recovering but is undergoing therapy for a knee hurt in the accident and a follow-up surgery. His wife, Sandra, was also injured, but is also recovering.
Also, the American Legion Post 81 Color Guard will be unable to post the colors this year due to other commitments.
Dr. Bill Balzano, president of Tennessee Christian Preparatory School, will fill in for Mayor Rowland as master of ceremonies.
Posting the colors will be The Sons of American Revolution Color Guard with their period uniforms.
Serving as chaplain will be Rick Ellis, pastor of Eagles Landing Worship Center.
Carter, the guest speaker, spent 30 years in commissioned service and 34 total years with the U.S. military. A member of Farmer Presbyterian Church in Polk County, he spent service time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and on assignments in Alabama.
Military honors include the National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal (with two Bronze Stars), Kuwait Freedom Medal, the Tennessee National Guard Distinguished Unit Commendation and the Tennessee National Guard War Service Ribbon.
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, three local Eagle Scouts will read the names of Bradley County’s deceased wartime veterans.
Reading the names of World War I veterans will be Hunter Gruber from Troop 10 at Broad Street United Methodist Church. Mitchell Schroll of Troop 44 at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church will read the names of World War II veterans. Conner Logan from Broad Street United Methodist Church’s Troop 10 will read the names of veterans from Vietnam and the Iraq War. Gruber will also read names from the Korean War.
Reading this year’s Last Roll Call, of Bradley County veterans who have passed away during the past year, will be Asssistant Bradley County Veterans Officer Joe Davis.
Kay Cox, president of the Aldersgate Garden Club, will honor deceased African-American veterans.
There will be a 21-gun salute by the Bradley County Veterans Firing Squad under the command of “Pinky” Blackburn.
The Cleveland High School Band will furnish buglers and drummers for this year’s program.
This will be the first year the Courthouse Plaza will be decorated with American flags purchased by local citizens who have honored their loved ones with a flag to raise money for the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home. The home will be located on Westland Drive.
The Memorial Day program is being sponsored by the community’s veteran organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, AmVets, Sons of the American Revolution, Voiture 735, the 40 and 8th, and all of the ladies auxiliaries.
Program Chairman Steve Stewart said there will be some seats available at the service but recommended bringing a lawn chair.
In case of inclement weather the service will be moved to VFW Post 2598 on North Ocoee Street.