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Veterans honor guard to lead parade

The Mountain Press - 8/19/2017

Staff report

PIGEON FORGE -- Pigeon Forge is honoring America's military with its Veterans Homecoming Parade today at 9 a.m. The parade starts at Methodist Street (next to Food City) and concludes at Jake Thomas Road (stoplight #5).

The parade is followed by a free concert with James Rogers at 1 p.m. Rogers also will serve as this year's parade grand marshal. He has been a mainstay on the Pigeon Forge entertainment scene for the past 30 years and is widely recognized for his self-penned songs that feature tributes to the Armed Forces.

He tours extensively throughout the U.S. where he showcases his repertoire of patriotic songs, including "I Guard America," which was adopted in 1999 by the National Guard as its official theme song. "Where Eagles Fly," "Save the Eagle" and "When Challenger Flies" are all tributes to the American bald eagle. Rogers is a longtime supporter of the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation and has worked on the organization's behalf to promote awareness and preservation.

Rogers' concert begins at 1 p.m. at the Country Tonite Theater in Pigeon Forge (located at 129 Showplace Road). Admission is free and general admission seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open at noon.

The Veterans Homecoming Parade starts at 9 a.m. on the Pigeon Forge Parkway at Methodist Street and travels north to Traffic Light 5.

In the parade, Rogers will be joined by special guest Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder. Grinder was appointed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in 2011. Colonel Grinder is the first female in the state to serve as Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services. The retired colonel served more than 35 years in the Tennessee Army National Guard before accepting her current appointment.

"Pigeon Forge is a very patriotic community," said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, "and we're grateful for the opportunity to pay a heartfelt tribute to the many brave men and women who have served our country. James Rogers has graciously extended this year's celebration with his free concert for everyone to enjoy."

The parade will be led by the Veterans Military Honor Guard of Pigeon Forge, and more than 50 entries, including groups from three additional states, including several chapters from Vietnam Veterans of America. American Legion posts as well as Disabled American Veterans will be represented as well.

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


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