Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam veterans’

Pigeon Forge Parade Salutes America’s Military Veterans

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (August 2015) – Pigeon Forge, Tenn., will honor America’s military with its Veterans Homecoming Parade on Saturday, Aug. 29.

The parade starts at 9 a.m. at Traffic Light 8, traveling north to Traffic Light 5, to make its way down Jake Thomas Boulevard.

Parade grand marshals will be Robert Cato and Andrew White, members of Guardian for Heroes Foundation. Founded by U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the foundation offers free, in-home fitness equipment, training, life coaching and much more to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families and those struggling with PTS.

“Pigeon Forge is a very patriotic community,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, “and we’re proud to present this parade as a token of our appreciation to those who served. Many people who live and work here are veterans, so we understand the service and sacrifice made by members of our military throughout our nation’s history. It is an honor to pay tribute to these men and women.”

More than 40 entries will take part in the parade, including several chapters from Vietnam Veterans of America, noting the 40th anniversary of the end of that conflict. Pigeon Forge High School band will march, along with Knoxville’s Central High School Flag detail. Congressman Phil Roe and Lorenzo Wills, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs also will take part in the tribute.

For information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge and other city-sponsored events, visit or call toll-free to 1-800-251-9100.




Donnette Engebrecht




Vietnam Veterans To Receive Four Days of Recognition in Pigeon Forge

Louise Mandrell to lead ‘Parade They Never Got’ in August

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 1, 2014) – Four days in August have been set aside in this Great Smoky Mountains resort community for special recognitions of America’s veterans.

Dates are Aug. 21-24, and activities include salutes at various theaters, display of a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a full-fledged parade along the Parkway.

Louise Mandrell discusses the "Parade They Never Got."

Louise Mandrell discusses the “Parade They Never Got.”

Entertainer Louise Mandrell will be the grand marshal of the Celebrate Freedom Welcome Home Vietnam Parade on Aug. 23.

“This has been nicknamed ‘the parade they never got,’ and I want all veterans to realize how much their country appreciates their service,” said Mandrell, who has entertained service members throughout her career.

Mandrell recognized active and former service members during every performance of her show when she had her own theater in Pigeon Forge from 1997-2005.

The parade is for veterans of all eras, not just Vietnam. Leaders of veterans’ groups interested in participating are invited to contact the Pigeon Forge Tourism Department’s special events office (865-429-7350).

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica will be on display indoors at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center as part of the Smoky Mountain Military and Relic Show on Aug. 23-24. The display is a project of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a nationwide undertaking, and its visit to Pigeon Forge is sponsored by Collier Restaurant Group, Smoky Mountain Resorts and the Titanic Museum Attraction.

“An additional way for veterans’ families to honor their veterans is to nominate someone for recognition at the military and relic show. Nominating someone is as simple as going online to,” said Pete Smith, show organizer.

Three theaters have planned special August entertainment:

  • The Smoky Mountain Opry will present its “Salute to Patriots” on Aug. 21.
  • The Grand Majestic Theater is organizing “Radio Saigon,” a dinner and presentation of Vietnam-era music, on Aug. 22.
  • Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede will present a special show on Aug. 23.
  • The Blackwoods are organizing a “Sunday Morning Remembrance” on Aug. 24 at the Smoky Mountain Opry.

The Titanic Museum Attraction will provide complimentary admission to veterans and active duty military Aug. 21-24.

US Tours has packaged the various elements of the four-day event. Tour information is available at

“For years, Pigeon Forge has saluted veterans and first responders with Celebrate Freedom, which offers discounts across the city throughout August. The parade, the special shows and the other activities Aug. 21-24 add to that salute,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is available at and 800-251-9100.



Tom Adkinson, APR




Parade in Pigeon Forge To Honor Vietnam Veterans

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 18, 2013) – Vietnam veterans from across the U.S. will be in Pigeon Forge and Sevier County, Tenn., April 15-17 for a series of events that includes the “Welcome Home from Vietnam Parade” in Pigeon Forge.

Adrian Cronauer, the Air Force sergeant who was the inspiration for the 1987 film “Good Morning, Vietnam,” and Barry Rice, president of the Tennessee State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, are the grand marshals of the April 16 parade.

The U.S. Marine Corps Band from Quantico, Va., is scheduled to lead the parade, which will feature a variety of military-oriented units, civilian floats and groups honoring the veterans.

Also, more than 300 Vietnam veterans have registered to march while their families and friends watch the procession. Those registrants are from 24 states, stretching from Vermont to Texas to Oregon, and organizers expect more.

The parade is a public component of “Welcome Home Vietnam,” an event organized by U.S. Tours in Parkersburg, W.Va. Other aspects of that program are for event registrants only and include special concerts and opportunities for Vietnam veterans to meet with each other.

“All Vietnam veterans are invited to march or ride in the parade at no cost,” said Bob Cline, president of U.S. Tours, adding that the Tennessee National Guard will provide vehicles for veterans who want to ride in the parade.

Parade sign-up is online at, and there is reserved parade seating for veterans’ spouses with registration.

The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. April 16 on Jake Thomas Road. It will turn south onto the Parkway and go south past Traffic Light 8 to Dixie Stampede.

Among the parade participants are the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the AMVETS Post 104 Motorcycle Riders Club, Patriot Guard Riders, Tennessee Helping Hearts, the North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapters 596 and 1073.

“This will be the parade they never got, and we invite everyone to show their support,” Cline said.


Contact for the Welcome Home Vietnam program:
Rita Ritenour
U.S. Tours

Contact for Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism:
Tom Adkinson, APR