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Roane County woman honors nearly 400 fallen East Tennessee soldiers

Melissa Beck and her daughters hand painted 386 names on their window to honor East Tennesseans who died during military service.

ROCKWOOD, Tennessee — Melissa Beck said she started painting her window last year after losing her daughter.

"She's always incorporated in every window on every holiday," she said. 

But this year for Memorial Day she added the names of a few people who died serving in the military.

"It started with just my uncle's name and couple more for some friends of ours," Beck said. 

She posted the idea on Facebook, and within a few hours, it was clear Roane County wanted in on honoring their loved ones too.

"I think we got up to like 46 and my next comment was like we had 89 names, but I knew we had a lot more people," she said. 

The final count was more than double that.

"We ended up with 386 names overall from Roane County," she said. 

But for Beck, it wasn't just about learning their names it was also about uncovering stories going back decades.

"This one touched my heart a lot," she said. "There was a picture with a soldier and three generations in his family."

After several days of adding names, she said her window is full.

"We ended up running out of room on the window and had to go on to the sheets of paper," Beck said. 

However, her quest to honor fallen soldiers won't end here.

"It's just, you don't realize how many people sacrificed and gave up their lives to protect us and protect our country," she said. 

She plans to do the same thing on Veterans Day but this time on a store window, and she'll make sure to gather more names so more people get a chance to remember those they've lost.

"As long as somebody speaks their name, sees their name and reaches out to them and wants to hear their stories, they will never be forgotten," she said.

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