Every year thousands of men and women are posted around the world in order to protect America. These people give years of their lives to keep America great, and many will give their lives in the pursuit of peace. In order to honor those that have fought and continue to fight for America, Gatlinburg sponsors the Mountain Man Memorial March. This year represents the fifth year that this march will grace the streets of Gatlinburg.
Held on April 20 and 21, the march is 26.2 miles long and spans over two days. It was originally created to honor 1st. Lt. Frank Wallup who lost his life in Iraq in 2007. As a University of Tennessee-Knoxville alumnus, his loss represents a personal loss for the people of Tennessee. Participation in the march is open to anyone who is physically capable. You can register in one of three categories: civilian, military light and military heavy. If you cannot complete the full course, you can also register for quarter or half-course distances.
The creators of the MMMM,members of theUniversity of TennesseeROTC,were inspired by the annual Bataan Memorial March that is held in White Sands, N.M. What started out as a simple march has led to thousands of participants over the past few years. Active military members walk next to the family and friends of active and lost servicemen and servicewomen. Every one that participates does so with the motto in mind, “Support the Future, Honor the Past.”
Each year the march begins in front of the Hard Rock Cafe. As with any military event, the opening ceremony starts at 8:30 and the march kicks off exactly at 9 a.m. Those that are not participating in the march often attend the ceremony on Friday night that features several guest speakers and commemorative speeches. Each year the East Tennessee Gold Star Mothers are honored for their contributions and losses. On the day of the event, you can see dozens of men on motorcycles riding alongside the marchers. These are members of the Road March For Warriors, men and women who are veterans themselves.
If you are interested in participating in the Mountain Man Memorial March, you can register online. There you will find all the information you need for registration, entry fees, safety concerns and frequently asked questions about the event. The event organizers can also be reached by phone or by email.
Of course, you do not need to participate in the event to honor the servicememebrs that will be participating. If you are staying at the Elk Springs Resort Gatlinburg cabins over that weekend, you will be just a short drive away from downtown Gatlinburg. The streets will be lined with people just like you who want to honor fallen military personnel and show your gratitude to active and retired servicemembers. If you have questions about parking or what spots are best to watch the march from, do not hesistate to contact us at the main office. You may even see us standing alongside the march, waving the American flag and cheering on the participants.
Elk Springs Resort
1088 Powdermill Rd.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738