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Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park Honoring Heroes of The Great War

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park Honoring Heroes of The Great War

Veteran’s Day celebrations will continue online Saturday with Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park’s video series on World War I.

Park Ranger Tanner Wells said the video series will look into the different aspects of being a soldier. Wells said it’s an attempt to show the next generation what these heroes went through, now that they are all gone.

“It’s not just the soldier fighting, it is everything else around them, whether its upon their person,” Wells said. “Personal circumstances like are they keeping clean, are they brushing their teeth to are they listening to music, are they hearing stories of family that are ill back home. It’s an opportunity for all of us to kind of think, ‘I wonder what my grandfather or great-grandfather did?”

Wells said the 102 years since the war ended has affected the things people remember from World War I. He hopes Saturday will show all the changes to life and combat these soldiers experienced overseas.

“When we think of World War I, there’s always that image of soldiers dashing across No man’s land but we forget about everything else that’s involved in that,” Wells said. “Where do they get their food from, how is that prepared, what are people doing back home, how are things transported to the front lines?”

Wells also said it was a turning point in military technology and warfare. As well as how the war was broadcast across the globe.

“The evolving technologies in war, like aircraft and artillery and chemical weapons,” Wells said. “New tools like photography and film developed to be taken from the field… it is the change of everything in a way and it’s the first time we’ve ever seen things like this.”

Wells said it was important to make this happen virtually because of the Great War turning into a forgotten war. On a day that was originally meant to honor the end of this world wide conflict.

“For us it’s definitely an endeavor to continue the endeavor of honoring those who had come before us that served,” Wells said. “Veteran’s Day itself is originally Armistice Day, it’s the day that World War I came to an end and it’s a war that in many ways grown more and more over the last 20 to 30 years to be recognized more and more as the forgotten war.”

Wells said 110,000 Tennesseans served in WWI, including the infamous Sergeant Alvin C. York. Now those veterans are gone and he said it’s up to the current generation to remember what happened.

“The more we let these stories fade away… like World War I and what we know of the conflict and the war, when we forget about the war, we forget about the heroes and those that served in it,” Wells said. “Which in many ways are our own great-grandfather and family that had some connection to this conflict. So, when the war fades from memory, its heroes fade from memory.”

Wells said the videos will start being posted on the park’s Facebook at 8:00 AM and continue throughout the day until a live Q&A at 4:00 PM. This will be the fourth year the park has held its Veteran’s Day event.



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