Thousands of East Tennessee men and women fought and died for our country.
To honor them on this Memorial Day, volunteers read each of the more than 6,000 names aloud. Starting at sunrise, students, veterans, Gold Star families, and active military members took turns reading the names at the East Tennessee Veteran's Memorial in World's Fair Park.
It takes more than five hours to read the 6,000 names, but volunteers said it's just a small way they can show their gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice.
"Here in Knoxville we don't forget our veterans. It's important for us to never forget and this is a way we can remember them every year, every name, and we are constantly looking for more names," said Eric Nash of the Marine Corp League.
Nash says behind every name there is a story. Four names on the wall are former UT football players, another is a former UT cheerleader.
He adds one fallen veteran from Unicoi County was killed in action on a hillside with Audie Murphy.
Bernice Koprince says she loves hearing the stories behind the names on the memorial. Her son is no exception. William C. Koprince Jr. was killed in Iraq just three weeks from coming home.
"They had a big day of sweeping for insurgents, and several people had been down in the same alley he had been down, and he just happened to step on the IED in the right way," said Koprince.
She doesn't want the story of her son and the thousands of other East Tennessee veterans to be forgotten.
"My child sacrificed for me, and that's a huge price," she said.
She says that's why ceremonies like the one the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association put on Monday are so important. She is also thankful for the memorial itself as a way to keep her sons name from being forgotten.
At the end of the ceremony, 20 more names were dedicated. Their names were carved into the memorial earlier this month.
Knox County Memorial Day service at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery