LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – In the midst of Veterans Day parades and ceremonies all across the country, a group of former soldiers begins a journey at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza each year that ends at the Wilson County Veterans Memorial in Lebanon.
The 32-mile journey, which raises awareness for the non-profit Fallen Soldiers March, takes nearly 12 hours to complete along U.S. 70.
Its purpose is to purchase service dogs that can help soldiers referred to as Wounded Warriors.
On Wednesday, the group included several veterans of Desert Storm in the first Gulf War during the early 90s.
It is the fourth trek for Dwayne Wright who also brought along his 10-year-old son Cooper for the all-day walk that began at dawn and ends at dusk.
While a veteran himself, Dwayne is thinking of another family member who is in the service.
“I have got a cousin right now that is deployed over in Afghanistan somewhere,” Wright told News 2 as he walked up a hill on Lebanon Road near the Wilson County line.
He continued, “It’s so everyone knows that freedom is not free. The best thing is when former veterans will stop their vehicles and get out [and] salute the flag. It’s awesome.”
All along the route, all ages take time out of their day to clap and cheer for the group.
“I take a little break from work to take care of them,”Jess Barker said as he finished clapping outside the Apple Collision Center where he works. “My dad is 89-years-old and a World War II, Korean War veteran. [I’m] proud of them.”
A few miles away, nearly 200 kids from the Legacy Family Academy gathered with their teachers and parents to cheer the Fallen Soldiers March.
Even the youngest knew why.
“They fought in the war for us,” said Hannah Crouch, who said she had just learned about recent U.S. conflicts in a class earlier in the day.
More information on the march is available at FallenSoldiersMarch.com.