How can you define the word “hero”?
For some, its fictional characters out of comic books such as Iron Man, Superman, Spider Man and more.
For others, it is first responders such as firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics.
The word “hero” is defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
These three traits are in every member of the armed forces of the United States of America.
Numerous veterans came together today for Memorial Day in Crossville with several events scheduled.
A ceremony was held to recognize veterans at Lowe’s just after 8 a.m. this morning and an hour later, the Young Marines participated in a flag raising ceremony at the Fairfield Glade Community Center. Tim French held a Hero’s Recognition Day at the National Guard Armory from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. central. The Elks gave out free hot dogs to veterans at the War Memorial from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., the American Legion Post 163 held a ceremony and the Veterans of Foreign Wars celebrated their 75th anniversary.
105.7 News spoke with several citizens who served in the armed forces. Three of them included:
97-YEAR-OLD HANK DELLARCO OF CROSSVILLE
Hank Dellarco of Crossville attended the American Legion ceremony.
The 97-year-old Dellarco served in the North and South Atlantic in World War II. He also served in Korea.
“I went into the Army in 1943 and came out in 1963. I spent another 10 years in the reserves,” said Dellarco.
“I had two brothers who served in the Army Air Corps and I have a nephew who is a retired admiral.”
When asked what advise he would give young men and women about to enlist, his answers were to the point.
“Be on time and save your money.”
67-YEAR-OLD GRETA WILKINSON
Greta Wilkinson was in attendance at the VFW 75th anniversary celebration.
She served in the United States Army for 21 years from 1979 until 2001 and did two tours in Korea. She participated in training exercises in Panama and also served at Ft. Bragg. She is a retired E-8 (master sergeant). She was born and raised in Cumberland County.
“Memorial Day is extremely important not only today but every Memorial Day,” said Wilkinson.
Her advice to citizens about to enter or already in the military service comes in three points: follow orders, stay physically fit and enjoy the time.
67-YEAR-OLD COMMANDER R.J. COPE – VFW CROSSVILLE
Another veteran in attendance with Wilkinson was VFW Commander R.J. Cope. The 67-year-old retired Army captain served as a helicopter medivac pilot in Vietnam in 1967. He spent 10 years in the Marine active reserves and another 14.5 years in the Tennessee Army National Guard.
“Memorial Day is very important to me. My uncle (Troy Gordon Cope) was a fighter pilot who lost his life in Vietnam. As a pilot myself, I picked up so many wounded and deceased,” said Cope. “This day is to honor all who served with honor for our country.”
“My advice for citizens about to join or already in the military is simply serve our nation with pride. We have to preserve the rights we have as Americans.”
Then Cope ended his statement with a sentence that was strong.
“America lives in me, I don’t live in America.”
Indeed there are heroes out there among us. They are the men and women who served or presently serving in every branch of the armed forces. We take time today to honor them and also remember the veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
Today we simply say “thank you” to all of them for their service.