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Fallen Heroes

With dignity, honor and respect we hope to create a "cyberspace" monument to the fallen heroes of Claiborne County.  Please call (423) 626-4203 if you would like to contribute any pictures or stories concerning loved ones who meet the criteria to be included in this monument.

What is a Hero? A Hero is someone who has placed the value of others above themselves, truly demonstrating the highest level of humility. A Hero doesn’t self-assign the title, nor do they have to inform others of their status.

Having served 20 years in the US military, it is an honor and privilege to introduce you to some of the Hero’s of Claiborne County Tennessee.

Del McMurray, BSSW, M.Ed.

Retired United States Air Force

Senior Master Sergeant

99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Superintendent



The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, Battlefield Cross or Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed. Made up of the soldier's rifle with bayonet attached stuck into the ground, helmet on top, dog tags sometimes hanging from the rifle and the boots of the fallen soldier next to it. Its purpose is to show honor and respect for the fallen at the battle site. The practice started during the American Civil War or maybe earlier as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground before they were removed.

Today, it is an immediate means of showing respect for the fallen among the still living members of the troop. It might be seen in the field or base camp after the battle in Afghanistan or Iraq. Used less today as a means to identify the fallen but more as a private ceremony among those still living as a means to mourn, as attending the funeral is not always possible for soldiers still in the fight.

Source:  wikipedia.org



The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the most visited gave site at Arlington, or for that matter, in America.  Beneath the white marble Tomb sarcophagus lies the body of an unidentified American soldier from World War I.  West of the sarcophagus beneath three marble slabs that lie flush with the plaza are crypts for the unidentified remains of an American soldier from World War II and Korea, and the empty crypt that once held the unidentified remains of a serviceman from the Vietnam War.

The selection process of the Unknown Soldiers and the ceremony with which each was interred has been both intricate and moving.  Near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a large plaque that details that history.

Source:  http://www.homeofheroes.com/gravesites/unknowns/0_unknowns.html


Arlington National Cemetery. Administered by the U.S. Army, this military cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is one of the nation's most important memorial sites. In 1864, in an act of retribution against Confederate general Robert E. Lee, the War Department confiscated his estate in Arlington, Virginia, and turned it into an army cemetery. After the war, this temporary burial ground became part of a network of federal military cemeteries administered by the U.S. Army.

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, U.S. Presidents promoted reconciliation between the North and South by honoring the Confederate cause at the cemetery. In 1900, President William McKinley signed legislation establishing a Confederate burial section at Arlington for the southern Civil War dead buried in scattered cemeteries around Washington. In 1914, the United Daughters of the Confederacy built a Confederate War Memorial at Arlington. In 1925, Congress made Lee's former home a national memorial, and eight years later the National Park Service took custody of the structure.

Arlington holds the graves of over 150,000 veterans who served in every American war from the Revolutionary War to the Persian Gulf War. The grounds also contain such national memorials as the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknowns. Military or veteran's status is required for burial at Arlington, but the cemetery contains the graves of many prominent civilian leaders. The decision of the Kennedy family in 1963 to inter the remains of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington, and five years later those of his brother, Senator Robert Kennedy, enhanced the cemetery's importance as a national site of mourning.

See also Military, The; National Park System.

Source: Paul S. Boyer. "Arlington National Cemetery." The Oxford Companion to United States History. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 6 May. 2011 http://www.encyclopedia.com.



During times of war, we often see fallen war heroes returning in flag-draped caskets. This symbolizes service in the armed forces of the United States, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Anyone who served in a branch of the armed services and was not dishonorably discharged is entitled to a military funeral, as are certain elected government officials.


The Illinois National Guard states that this tradition began in the late 18th century during the Napoleonic wars, when the flag was used to cover dead soldiers carried from the field. This later evolved into the flag-draped casket seen at military funerals.


When the flag is draped over the coffin, the blue field, known as the "union," should be at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased, according to U.S. History.org. However, originally, the blue field was reversed, over the right shoulder, to indicate mourning.


According to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, all active-duty military personnel and veterans are eligible for a flag-draped casket, as is a president of the United States, who serves as commander-in-chief of the military. Some members of Congress may be eligible, as are certain civilians chosen by the president as having served the national defense of the country.


The flag is not buried with the casket. Instead, it is folded 13 times, in traditional military style, and usually given to the closest living relative. The family may keep the flag, or donate it to the cemetery if it has an "avenue of flags." In this case, the cemetery will fly all donated flags on patriotic holidays.

Other Flag Procedures

The flag should never touch the ground while draped on the casket as, according to the flag code, it represents a living country and should be considered a living thing. However, it is allowable for a veteran to be buried with a small flag in the casket or even to be wrapped in the flag, according to the Illinois National Guard.

Source: http://www.ehow.com/about_5982027_flag_draped-casket-mean_.html