Program chairman Steve Stewart said he decided to move the ceremony from Johnston Park to the Courthouse after talking to many veterans.
The scene will be framed by American flags and patriotic monuments — and the names of Bradley County veterans who paid the supreme sacrifice in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War are engraved in gray slabs of granite.
Army veteran Mary Baier is chairwoman of the Raymond H. Miller Patriotic Award. She will co-chair the Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day programs. Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland will be the master of ceremonies and Josh Brown, pastor of Ridgeview Baptist Church, will serve as chaplain.
The program is usually held on Nov., 11, but since Veterans Day it on Sunday this year the ceremonies will be Monday. In years past, the program was held at Johnston Park downtown Cleveland.
This year’s speaker, retired U.S. Navy. Capt. Kim Parker, has a long and distinguished career in service to the country.
The posting and retiring of the colors will be by the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets, Chattanooga division. This is the first year they have participated in the local program.
The program will start with the ringing of the Plow Share by Eddie Cartwright, a tradition that was started in 1918. Cleveland High School Band will play a patriotic melody of songs under the direction of Raymond H. Miller and a patriotic award will be given to a deserving veteran, who not only served his or her country, but the community as well.
The program will conclude with a 21-gun salute by the Bradley County Veterans Firing Squad under the direction of Joseph “Pinky” Blackburn. After the retiring of the colors, a quilt by Woven Hearts Quilting Bee will be given by Maggie Evans. Tickets will be available at the ceremony. Proceeds from the quilt will be given to the Cleveland Bradley County State Veterans Home.
The Veterans Day program is sponsored by the various group and their auxiliaries: Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, AmVets, the 40 & 8 Society, and Sons of the American Revolution. Representatives from each organization will be present. In case of inclement weather the program will move to the VFW Post at 3370 North Ocoee St. Lawn chairs are suggested, as seating not available.
Guest speaker and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Kim Parker served 29 years as a career surface warfare officer. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and now hails from Tennessee. He received his Navy commission in July 1982 through Officer Candidate School, Newport, R.I. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Memphis State University and an M.S. in operations management from the University of Arkansas.
Parker's first assignment was to USS Austin (LPD 4) as first division officer, boat group commander, and boilers officer (homeport Norfolk, Va). During this period, Austin's primary operations were conducted in the Mediterranean Sea in support of operations in Beirut, Lebanon; above the Arctic Circle for Northern Wedding; and along the Eastern Seaboard in support of USMC training missions. His follow-on division officer tour was to USS Scott (DDG 995) as first lieutenant and navigator. During this period, Scott deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean Sea participating in Gulf of Sidra operations and as shadow of the Achille Lauro.
His department head tour was aboard USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) as combat systems officer. Mobile Bay participated in Desert Storm as alternate air warfare commander during five carrier operations in the Arabian Gulf, launch platform for 22 Tomahawks, and as primary control for surface attack aircraft accounting for 32 Iraqi Navy vessels destroyed during the conflict. His watch team was the first to track a SCUD missile from an Aegis ship. Mobile Bay operated extensively in the Middle East, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.
Parker later served as executive officer aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64). During his tour, Gettysburg deployed to the Arabian Gulf and later to the Eastern Pacific.
Parker's first command tour was as commanding officer aboard USS Kinkaid (DD 965). He met Kinkaid in Singapore during the return from deployment and took the ship through a major shipyard period, workups and preparations for crew/hull swap deployment of the crew to USS Fletcher following Kinkaid’s decommissioning.
His second command tour was as commanding officer aboard USS Philippine Sea (CG 58). Under his command, Philippine Sea completed a deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Philippine Sea served as the flagship and command platform for CTF 158, tasked with protection of Iraqi offshore oil platforms while in the Arabian Gulf. Upon return to Mayport, the ship underwent a major refit including the installation of "Smartship.”
His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (3), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (4), Navy Achievement Medal, and numerous unit, campaign and deployment awards.