Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomed Medal of Honor Recipients and their families to Cades Cove on Thursday, Sept. 8. Park staff and volunteers provided a guided tour for the delegation of approximately 60 participants to enjoy the scenic beauty of Cades Cove along with special programs.
“Today we facilitated a very special opportunity to honor these American heroes for their service to our country,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “In Cades Cove, they were able to experience the gift of rest and renewal that a visit to the Smokies provides to millions of visitors each year.”
Nearly half of the 65 living Medal of Honor Recipients and their families traveled to Knoxville, TN this week for the Medal of Honor Celebration, a week of activities focused on reuniting the Recipients of the United States’ highest military award for valor. Participants had the opportunity to explore the Primitive Baptist Church and cemetery where 16 veteran graves were marked by American flags. They also had the opportunity to visit the Pearl Harbor tree which was planted on Dec. 7, 1941 by Cades Cove resident Golman Myers to commemorate the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Bernard Myers, Golman’s youngest son, was four-years old when the tree was planted and was onsite to share the memory with attendees.
Park staff and year-round volunteers who had previously served in the military greeted the group at the Cades Cove Visitor Center area. Participants had the opportunity to enjoy traditional music, demonstrations, and explore the grist mill, cantilever barn, and other historic structures. Vietnam veteran employees were also presented commemorative lapel pins to honor their service.
Cades Cove Loop Road was temporarily closed to the public until 3:30 p.m. to accommodate the visit by the Medal of Honor Recipients and their security detail.
- National Park Service release