A stone memorial in downtown Knoxville honors the war dead from East Tennessee but its companion memorial online is very much a living and evolving website.
“We add new names. They are engraved on the memorial. We dedicate their names at the reading of the names (on Memorial Day),” explained John Romeiser, who has served as one of the curators of the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial built and dedicated back in 2018.
“We get emails from people all over the country and sometimes from other countries who say we have some more information on this individual or they have information photos and things like that to share with us, we put them on the website,” said Mr. Romeiser.
He is one of the lead researchers and caretakers of the memorial, which holds the names of more than 6,300 troops from 35 East Tennessee counties killed in service dating back to World War I.
The online site now includes photographs of about one-third of those veterans, and in almost 90 percent of cases the site holds basic biographical information about each name etched in stone.
But each year, managers of the memorial learn about new names to add to the pillars -- including a couple veterans now buried in the Knoxville National Cemetery.
“I have already Identified two who are buried there that we don’t have any record of on the memorial, so we are working on that right now,” said Mr. Romeiser.
The annual “reading of the names” will start at dawn on Memorial Day and include the dedication of four new names from troops killed in Vietnam and World War II.