Support the future, honor the past: a walk to remember
Three years ago the people of Gatlinburg, TN decided to create an event to honor those men and women who are stationed around the world supporting and protecting the freedoms that Americans enjoy every day. The Mountain Man Memorial March, held on April 17th this year, is a 26.2 mile trek through the Great Smoky Mountains; it honors a fallen alumnus of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 1st Lt. Frank Walkup who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq.
Beginning at 9 A.M. in front of the Hard Rock Cafe in Gatlinburg and continuing to Pittman Center on Highway 321 this event is open to both civilians and military light or heavy participants. Can’t complete the entire walk but still want to participate? There are registrations for quarter- and half-marathon distances as well. When the UT Army ROTC first conceived of this event it was to honor those who fight and have fought for America; the event now draws thousands of people who come to either participate or support those walking. By walking a mile in a soldier’s steps the motto for this event has come to be Support the future, honor the past.
Registration is still open so call or go online today to secure a spot! It will be open until the Friday beforehand at the Gatlinburg Inn from 1-7 PM. The festivities also start on this day with a ceremony held at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza to honor East Tennessee’s Gold Star Mothers, women who have lost a child in uniform. On the day of the event different teams will carry a flag honoring each mother and present them after the walk is completed.
In addition to remembering these soldiers a portion of the proceeds raised will go to the Wounded Warrior Project that assists injured men and women financially, emotionally and medically when they return home. Twenty percent of all proceeds and 100 percent of all money raised at the event will go to this great foundation that needs all the support it can get as so many of our servicemen and women come home. Whether you participate in or stand on the sidelines and root on the walkers this event is one not to be missed when staying in Gatlinburg. For directions to the Hard Rock Cafe, Gatlinburg Inn or Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s Plaza from Elk Springs Resort please feel free to contact us.