Soon volunteers will cover the streets of Ringgold in red, white and blue as flags fly for two weeks recognizing the deceased veterans of Catoosa County.
Ringgold Councilmember Randall Franks spearheaded an effort to make sure six Catoosa County men received an additional recognition that was long overdue.
On the lawn of the Catoosa County Courthouse stands its War Memorial erected in 1954 by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post to honor the county’s Killed in Action from WWI and WWII. The local post made additions to the monument again in 1974 with names of the KIAs from the Korean and Vietnam wars, he said.
"With the closure of the local post in the early 2000s, the care of the monument became the responsibility of Catoosa County," Franks said. "I am pleased the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners and County Manager Jim Walker worked with me to get these heroes added."
Theaters of service and Catoosa heroes included who died in the 2000s are Global War on Terrorism: Randall Smith; Iraq: Will Chambers, Josh Morberg, and Joshua Adam Scott; and Afghanistan: Ed Koehler.
"Catoosa County will never forget its military sons and daughters who paid the ultimate sacrifice serving our country," said Commission Chairman Steven Henry, speaking on behalf of the entire Board of Commissioners. "Memorializing their names on a prominently displayed public monument will keep their memory and service alive in the hearts and minds of everyone who sees them. We remain eternally grateful for their selfless contributions to our Country and Catoosa County."
A sixth hero was added from the Vietnam War era - Thomas A. Duckett.
"The VFW had left a space for him 43 years ago after the Boynton fighter pilot was reported Missing in Action," Franks said. "We wanted to make sure he was finally included among the Vietnam heroes listed."
Franks also expressed thanks for additional research conducted by Gilbert Childers of the Flag Committee and city staff member Will Baerg on the project. Franks added that he hopes that visitors who come to Ringgold to drive around and see the Festival of Flags will pause for a few minutes on the courthouse lawn.
"Please visit, walk up and read the names of the men from all the wars who gave their lives for us," he said. "The earliest on the front, the latest on the back. Lest we never forget them and all the veterans we mark with the bi-annual flag display."