Retired colonel leads Memorial Day celebration

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By Lance Coleman
Blount Today

A crowd gathered Saturday, May 27, to honor veterans and hear a retired Marine colonel speak during 2007 Memorial Day festivities at the Blount County Courthouse.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Rufus Bowers gave the keynote address. Bowers graduated from Everett High School and Maryville College where he played football before he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served for 33 years.

Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham praised Bowers. "He’s a wonderful Blount Countian. His roots run deep in Blount County. It was a very patriotic speech," Cunningham said.

Bowers told the crowd that politicians should "Let the warriors fight the war, and the politicians stay out of it."
"He struck a happy cord with me," Cunningham said.

Bowers also spoke of the commercialization of Memorial Day. He shared his experiences after he returned from the Vietnam War and worked in Florida notifying relatives that their loved ones had been killed in the war.

"He told some touching and moving stories," Cunningham said. "Col. Bowers is a great Blount Countian, great Tennessean, great American and a great Marine."

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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