Pick up some small American flags to wave, gather up the kids and head downtown to watch the annual Mountain Man Memorial March held each year in April.
The event begins at 9 a.m. in downtown Gatlinburg and continue up Highway 321 to the Pittman Center, just minutes from our Gatlinburg Cabins. Participating in this grueling course are active and retired service members, as well as civilians. They will travel over a variety of surfaces, including highway, rural roads, mountain slopes and rugged terrain. While the march stems from the Bataan Memorial March held in White Sands, N.M. each year, it is held locally to honor 1st Lt. Frank Walkup. The young lieutenant was killed in the line of duty in Iraq back in 2007.
This tradition was started by the UT Army ROTC and now brings thousands of people to Gatlinburg each year to either participate in or watch the event. The motto of the march, “Support the future, honor the past”, is meant to honor those that have sacrificed so much for and continue to give their life for our great country. In addition to the walk itself you can enjoy the opening festivities held the evening before at Ripley’s Aquarium to honor East Tennessee Gold Star Mothers.
On the day of the event you will notice a group of motorcycle riders traveling with the marchers. These are members of the Road March for Warriors, the liason group for the Gold Star Mothers and the University of Tennessee Rocky Top Battalion. Whether you have a family member or friend in the military, or simply want to show your support, you will not want to miss out on this revered Gatlinburg event. Need directions downtown or suggestions on where to park? Don’t hesitate to contact us at the main office by phone or email.