"It's worth fighting for:" American vets thanked at show in Sevier County

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Sevier County said thank you to veterans on Thursday with a free lunch and show at Dolly Parton's Stampede.

Source: WVLT News

The event on Thursday was centered around a message of hope for anyone who has gone through a challenge in life. Kris Rystrom Emmert shared her story, and she lost her husband in 1993 during a mission in Bosnia. She said she found strength through God, but that wasn’t easy.

"We would pray every night for Daddy's safe on the plane, but that didn't happen. But we still believe that God is sovereign and that he's faithful and he has been so faithful carrying us through this journey of finding hope. And it's hard,” she said.

A ‘Salute to American's Heroes’ has happened at the Stampede for the past 10 years. They partnered with the Sevier County Hospitality Alliance to provide the free lunch and show for all branches of the military.

Emmert shared her story of how she found strength in her folded flag, and hopes that anyone who deals with a problem will find hope in promise.

"Everybody gets a folded flag at some time in their life. Your folded flag isn't gonna look like my folded flag. But how do you find hope after you've been handed your folded flag," she added.

For these veterans, it's a reminder of those who didn't get to return home to their families.

"Being in the service proud,” said veteran Stephen Fredricksen, while holding back tears. “See it still chokes me up. Well, like my hat says, some gave all. I lost a lot of friends of mine from my senior class of my high school."

Fredircksen said "We appreciate all the thanks we get. And it's a great country. It's worth fighting for, it's worth serving for, it's worth to do whatever you can, do your part."

More opportunities to thank a veteran on Monday with services in Sevierville and Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg will honor veterans at a service at Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza at 11 a.m. on Monday.

In Sevierville, an annual Veterans Day Program will happen from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the county courthouse.

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