The annual event is sponsored by Bradley County veterans organizations and auxiliary units.
The guest speaker is Life Care Centers of America Chief Operating Officer Chris Mitchell. Retired Army Lt. Col. Mitchell left the Army in 2003, after 20 years of service.
Memorial Day Service coordinator Steve Stewart said it is important to remember America’s veterans. He cited a story the national VFW magazine that told of cities and towns across the nation doing away with programs that honor veterans.
“Some believe the patriotism we saw rise after Sept. 11, 2001 is now on the decline and becoming more commercialized,” Stewart said. “Veterans organizations are dedicated to making sure Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances continue in Bradley County. It’s only two hours out of the day that we ask of local residents to honor our veterans.”
Mitchell served with the 8th Infantry Division in Germany and while assigned to the 2nd Armored Division, he deployed to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Assignments included tank platoon leader, tank company executive officer, tank battalion maintenance officer, tank company commander, headquarters company commander, tank battalion operations officer, tank battalion executive officer, brigade operations officer, deputy operations officer for the 1st Cavalry Division, regional plans officer for U.S. Special Operations Command, and tank battalion commander.
Mitchell completed Airborne and Ranger courses, Armor Officer Basic, Infantry Officer Advance, Special Operations Staff Officer, and Joint Operational Planning and Execution Systems Course. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Eastern Kentucky University and masters degree from the University of Louisville.
His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal for valor and Bronze Star Medal for service, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Army Commendation Medal (3), Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian Kuwait Liberation Medals, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal and the Kosovo Campaign Ribbon.
U.S. Navy and Korean War veteran the Rev. Carl Duckworth will serve as chaplain. Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland will return as master of ceremonies. The mayor missed the 2010 service because of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Jenny Hoffman will sing the National Anthem.
For the first time, Bradley Central High School Junior ROTC cadets will post the colors and read the names of Bradley County deceased wartime veterans of Word War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Rowland will call the last roll of Bradley County veterans who reported to their last duty station since Memorial Day 2010. Aldersgate Gate Club President Billie Blair and club members will present carnations as the names are read.
The reading of the names will be followed by “Taps” played by Cleveland High School Band buglers and drummers and a 21-gun salute fired by Bradley County veterans.
The public is urged to bring portable lawn chairs. Also, restrooms in the courthouse will not be available because county offices are closed for the holiday. In case of inclement weather, the service will be held at VFW Post 2598 at 3370 North Ocoee St.