By Max Hrenda
As of today, the Soldiers Monument that stands at the intersection of East Elk Avenue and North Main Street was first dedicated 100 years and three days ago.
To commemorate the monument’s historic turn, politicians, law enforcement officials, local celebrities and citizens alike gathered to pay homage not just to the monument, but for those it represents: the past, present, and future soldiers from Elizabethton and Carter County.
“That monument stands for something true and wonderful, and that is this city’s and this county’s commitment to always and forever honor the women and men who serve our country,” said WJHL-TV anchor Josh Smith. “It is in their name and their honor today that we gather, celebrate, remember, and mark 100 years of this beautiful and unique thing.”
Smith served as master of ceremonies for the monument’s centennial celebration, which was held on Saturday afternoon in the grass adjacent to Covered Bridge Park.
Event organizers estimate that more than 200 people turned out to express their gratitude for both the region’s soldiers and the monument itself. Before the ceremony began, Miss Watauga Valley 2013 Brittany Kyte, who sang the national anthem for the event, said she was moved by the celebration’s turnout.
“It’s really incredible, because it just shows how important the monument is to the community,” Kyte said. “It’s a symbol and a testament to those who fought for our country. To be able to come here and represent the town that I grew up in is really a great feeling.”