We get a fair number of veterans, current-serving military personnel and their families that come to spend the occasion in the Smokies and in this article, we wanted to list out some things our area provides for celebration and interest on the subject.
I've said it many times before, I'll say it many times now and the future, and each time I say it, it makes me proud to be in the Smoky Mountains. In East Tennessee, we take military service seriously to heart. We are proud of our men and women that volunteer their time, bodies, minds and sometimes lives to serve our country, provide disaster assistance and fight to keep us free when needed. We are proud of those who served our country's needs whether it was yesterday, 100 years ago or any time in between and this coming November 11th, we will celebrate, as with the rest of the country, Veteran's Day in the Smokies.
Veteran's Day Celebration in Gatlinburg
Traditionally, the city of Gatlinburg is the main source of Veteran's Day recognition and they hold the occasion at the Ripley's Aquarium. From their website:
Join Gatlinburg in saluting America’s veterans of the Armed Forces, featuring stirring musical numbers and words of tribute on Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza.
Every year since 2000, Gatlinburg, Tennessee hosts a very special event on November 11 to honor our nation’s veterans in a fitting and appropriate manner. The title “Gatlinburg Veterans Day Celebration” is an accurate description of the event in that the service and sacrifices made by our veterans are celebrated with the intent to thank those who gave – and continue to give – so much to keep our nation free. The ceremony at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza starts at 11 a.m. and is free to the public."
See more on the Veteran’s Day Celebration at CLICK HERE
Museums of Military Interest
The Tennessee Museum of Aviation
This is a huge museum located on Dolly Parton Parkway near the Sevierville airport - it has to be huge to house all the aircraft listed inside! This museum showcases quite a few military aircraft and provides plenty of information on the history of military aviation and how they helped us during the wars.
According to their website, these are the aircraft they have on display:
2 – Republic P-47D “Thunderbolt”
North American T-28B “Trojan”
Douglas A-1H “Skyraider”
Canadair T-33 “Silver Star”
North American Rockwell OV-10 “Bronco”
Grumman HU-16E “Albatross”
Beech T-34B “Mentor”
2 – Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17
North American P-51D “Mustang” (Full Scale Replica)
Boeing P-12E (3/4 Scale Replica)
1902 Wright Glider (Full Scale Replica)
Boeing F/A-18 “Hornet” (Cockpit Section)
Douglas A-4 “Skyhawk” (Cockpit Section)
North American B-25 “Mitchell” (Cockpit Section)
Beech-18 (Cockpit Section)
The Museum of Aviation is open daily: Mondays-Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Sunday. See pictures and much more information on them CLICK HERE
Sevierville Heritage Museum
Just down the sidewalk from the famous Sevierville Courthouse (the building with the clock tower on it) is a building that blends into the block very nicely, but inside is a small but eye-opening wealth of local history and treasure. That building is the Sevierville Heritage Museum.
Their website writes:"The Museum is located in the former Sevierville Post Office building. The U. S. Postal Service sold the building to Sevier County, which in turn designated the building as the site for a new museum. The Colonial Revival-style building, erected in 1940 by an African-American construction company, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The building was one of the last construction projects completed under the federal Works Progress Administration. [...]
The Museum offers more than displays of local artifacts and memorabilia. It hosts lectures and classes, transcribes and indexes historic documents, and performs research services for long-distance genealogists and historians. SCHM also participates in local commemorations of historic events and supports a number of other like-minded organizations, such as the Smoky Mountain Historical Society and the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains."
Not so much a museum, per se, but Patriot Park is highly tied into celebrated the military and the country when the appropriate holidays come up. They have a model rocket encased in a windowed building on the main walkway, 50 flags of all the states on display, flags of the various branches of the armed forces, a structure with names of Sevier County citizens who fought in various wars, a large structure of the liberty bell and, as it would have started by now thanks to the Winterfest season starting a few days before, Winterfest lights that showcase military images shining out in the darkness.
Patriot Park is also the central hub of the Pigeon Forge trolley system. See more on the park here:
We hope this is a good activity start for those of you who are looking forward to Veteran's Day as we are and we hope we get to meet you for the occasion here at Bear Camp Cabins!