Tuesday marks 50 years since the death of one Tennessee's most recognized war heroes. Sgt. Alvin York's family commemorated his death with a ceremony at his gravesite in Fentress County.
"It's hard to believe that it's been 50 years. I think he would have been proud that people honor him," said George Edward York, Sgt. York's oldest living son, 91. He still lives on his father's land in Pall Mall.
Sgt. York's three living children, George Edward York, Andrew Jackson York, 83, and Betsy Ross York, 81, placed a wreath on their father's grave. All mentioned they are grateful that his legacy lives on and continues to inspire new generations.
"I think it's nice that people still remember him," said Betsy Ross York.
Sgt. York received the Medal of Honor for his bravery during World War I. He led the charge to take over enemy machine gun nests. He killed more than two dozen Germans, captured more than 100 enemy troops, and saved his platoon.
When he came back to Tennessee, he worked tirelessly to further education at his home. He founded the York Institute and ran the school for a number of years before he handed it over to the state.
"I think it's important for people to look for heroes and I think in today's environment there aren't a lot of heroes," said Sgt. York's grandson, Col. Gerald York (U.S. Army retired). "He was concerned about people. He was concerned about the community."
Col. Gerald York said his grandfather rarely talked about the war; instead said he wanted to be remembered for his contributions to education.
Next week the York family will join dozens of other families and troops awarded the Medal of Honor. Knoxville will host the Medal of Honor convention September 10-13.
WBIR will host an hour long special, "Service and Sacrifice: The Medal of Honor," Wednesday at 7 p.m., on Channel 10.