Story by Mayor Kim McMillan
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Veterans Day has always been a day of significant meaning. It is a time to honor and reflect, to remember and appreciate. Across our nation, people will join together to appreciate the men and women who have given their all to protect our freedom. Nowhere is that gratitude more deeply felt than in Clarksville.
A few months ago, I joined with Governor Haslam and other elected officials as we held the official groundbreaking for the Veterans Home which will be located in Clarksville-Montgomery County. Everyone who spoke about the need for this special facility commented that having this kind of place in Clarksville just makes sense. We don’t just claim Fort Campbell; we truly welcome every soldier into our community.
By example, our soldiers and veterans set a standard for professionalism and courage. The nature of their jobs requires them to prepare for challenges most of us cannot even imagine. The depth of their courage can only be measured by their willingness to be ready, at a moment’s notice, for whatever comes their way. Quite simply, they are the bravest men and women on earth.
It is also important to remember the families of these men and women. A few weeks ago, I had an incredible opportunity to meet with Mr. Steve Woods. Mr. Woods’ father, Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods, had been missing for almost fifty years. Staff Sgt. Woods was a soldier in 5th Special Forces Group and a native Clarksvillian. His plane was shot down during the Vietnam War. Staff Sgt. Woods was a hero, a man who had trained and worked for all of us. His son, Steve, is a testament to persistence, resilience and the power of hope. He never stopped believing his father would be found. He never walked away from his mission of finding him. His story is a reminder to us all that for every veteran we honor, there is a family that supported, loved and worried about them every day they wore a uniform.
Outside the offices of City Hall, there is a flag pole that bears four flags. At the top is the flag of the United States of America. Directly underneath it flies the black and white POW/MIA flag. For the first time in Clarksville’s history, these flags, along with Tennessee’s and the City of Clarksville’s flag, are raised every single day. All anyone has to do is look up and remember. Every veteran is a treasure to our community for the service they gave and for the people they represent. Today is a day we specifically set aside to remember and honor them but I know that, especially in Clarksville, they are appreciated every day.
On behalf of a very grateful City, I thank all of our veterans, their families and everyone who supports them for their service. You make our country safe, our community strong, and our lives richer.