County funds trail of military history

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Dignitaries dedicated the Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Park Satruday, May 19 and with that dedication commenced the Franklin County Trail of Military History. Be it through personal service or the service of a relative, the loss of a loved one or the recognition of valor — American lives are touched by military history. Nearly 10 percent of the American population is actively serving in the military or is a veteran, which represents close to 30 million Americans. In fact, military history is the blueprint of American history. It is particularly true in Franklin County. Consider the colonial rebellion at Fort Loudoun, ten years prior to the first recognized rebellion at Lexington and Concord. Think about Thompson's Rifle Battalion, Company A that marched to the Siege of Boston or the first Union solider killed on Union soil, Corporal William Rihl. Then, there is Letterkenny Ordinance Depot and the contributions made by Franklin County citizens to World War II. From the pre-Revolutionary War to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Franklin County has many stories of its military men and women's contributions to the nation, and now, these important stories will be told with a Franklin County Trail of Military History.

The Franklin County Trail of Military History will begin at the Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Park. Using the 36 pavers in the central part of the memorial, the trail will tell the stories of Franklin County's veterans and the county's role in American military history.  In addition, an online and interactive repository of county veterans will be displayed at the memorial site as well as in a virtual memorial. The physical site and the website serve as launch points to discover more of Franklin County's veteran, military, and genealogical history. Located in the center of Franklin County, the Trail of Military History is an easy way for visitors to follow these stories into the county's communities, see the story sites firsthand, or launch into an existing frontier, Civil War, or architectural tour.  

The Franklin County Commissioners have approved the use of the 3 percent hotel room tax to fund sponsorship of a Franklin County Military History Trail. Total disbursement is $50,000. The trail is being developed in conjunction with the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.