veterans day celebration

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.

An official Regional Site for the Observance of Veterans Day as designated by Veterans Day National Committee, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Gatlinburg Veterans Day Celebration features several meaningful elements having broad appeal – giving those in attendance who are not veterans, particularly the children and youths present, a better insight as to why we should honor our veterans.

Keynote Speaker for the ceremony will be U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, who represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee. Congressman Roe is a veteran of the United States Army Medical Corps and serves on two important committees in Congress:  Veterans’ Affairs and Education and the Workforce.  While these committees put the First Congressional District in a position to be at the forefront of many debates, Congressman Roe has been an active voice on taxes, government spending, energy, transportation and protecting our values.  Prior to serving in Congress, Roe served as the Mayor and Vice Mayor of Johnson City.  As a physician, he also had a successful medical practice for 31 years.  

“We are very pleased to show our gratitude to our nation’s veterans in an appropriate and meaningful way,” said Jim Downs, Events Director for Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. “These events are intended to honor all who served.”

The 82nd Airborne All American Chorus from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Band will provide music for the ceremony.  Also featured in the ceremony will be members of Gatlinburg American Legion Post 202, Gatlinburg Police Department Captain Jim Maples - a Vietnam veteran who presents the MIA/POW Table, and the American Bald Eagle Foundation.  The Master of Ceremonies will be Ted Hall, Anchor for WVLT-TV Local 8 News.  

The free-admission event is held on the plaza at one of Gatlinburg’s most popular attractions, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. The space features flag poles large enough to display a giant 20’ x 30’ American Flag, along with seating space for hundreds of attendees.

For a list of military discounts, click here.

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