Tri-State Veterans hold ‘Welcome Home’ celebration

Published 1:55 pm Monday, July 8, 2019

Despite the weather that surrounded the area, the Tri-State Veterans Welcome Home celebration was a huge success for their inaugural event.

“I was kind of concerned a little bit because the holiday weekend, and I knew that a lot of people would be out of town with their families, vacationing and picnicking,” said Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson. “We had rain storms and a few huge rain storms, but after it was all said and done, I thought we had a very good turnout.”

It was the inaugural event titled “Vietnam Welcome Home” and was hosted by the Tri-State Veterans.

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“I thought we had a very good turnout for the first inaugural event, and the parade went really good,” Nelson said. “I was just well pleased, and I think that with talking to the Veterans that they were well pleased, too.”

The celebration started at 2 p.m. in the City Parking Lot with festivities that lasted until 8 p.m. The event included food and craft vendors, entertainment and a parade of celebration honoring Vietnam Veterans.

The Tri-State Veterans reached out to the Bell County Chamber of Commerce to help assist with the plans for the day. The celebrations surrounded Vietnam Veterans.

“At the conclusion of the Vietnam War, the veterans did not receive the welcoming they deserved,” Sheila Durham, Bell County Chamber of Commerce Director said. “We hope this event will help them know that we appreciate them and the service they have done for our country.”

Nelson said that he isn’t sure of an exact number of attendants but would estimate there were approximately 150 people there.

“We’ve talked about maybe doing it again at Veterans Day, which is actually the best time to do it,” Nelson said. “I don’t know if they would want to do it this Veterans Day, but we could get the schools involved and have another parade. It is up to the Veterans and whatever they want, but I think all in all everyone was really pleased.”

The Tri-State Veterans hope to make this an annual event for the Middlesboro area. Each year, the event will recognize a different war or conflict throughout history as a way to honor our veterans.