By Ashley Rader
A faithful band gathered at the Elizabethton Veterans War Memorial Friday evening.
They were on hand to recognize military personnel from Carter County who were held prisoner of war or who remain missing in action.
Hosted by Rolling Thunder Tennessee Chapter Four, the ceremony in honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Day included the Missing Man ceremony, Roll Call, readings of the names of ex-POWs from Carter County and the names of those still missing in action. Veteran Patrick Johnson served as guest speaker.
Harry Watson, 93, was the lone former POW in attendance. Betty Whaley, widow of World War II POW Bob Whaley, also attended the ceremony.
“I was a prisoner of war for 11 months, almost a year,” Watson said. “It is hard to tell what this means to me. It is wonderful to be associated with such a wonderful group of people. I just can’t tell you how this feels.”
Mathilde Bennett traveled from Roanoke, Va., to attend the ceremony. Bennett’s twin brother, Thomas Waring “Buddy” Bennett Jr., has been listed as missing in action since 1972 when he was serving in Vietnam.
“It means everything that people still remember and there are those people that still care and they care deeply,” Bennett said. “They have no shame, no trepidation about showing to everyone that they feel that way.”