Discovery Park of America’s 2023 Military History and Armed Forces Symposium Was Unforgettable This Year

Discovery Park of America’s 2023 Military History and Armed Forces Symposium Was Unforgettable This Year

May 3, 2023

This past weekend, thousands gathered at Discovery Park of America for the 2023 Military History and Armed Forces Symposium. The annual event featured a variety of programs and interactive activities that explore the American military’s past, present and future.  

On Friday, students from all over the region had the opportunity to participate in various educational activities and hear a keynote by Cpl. John Henley. Henley entered the United States Marine Corps in 1969 and trained as a field artilleryman stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina with the 2nd Marine Division. In June 1970, Henley was attached to Battalion Landing Team 2/9 3rd Marine Division and served in Vietnam, Okinawa and the Philippines before he was honorably discharged in 1971. Henley shared his story and how his time in the Marine Corps affected the rest of his career.  

A VIP reception was also held to honor veterans, active military and reservists who have sacrificed on behalf of all U.S. citizens to fight for and protect our freedom. 

Guests had the opportunity to hear from Lt. Col. Bernard House on Saturday. House is a professor of military science at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is also the overall leader of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps battalion at both Murray State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin 

Another guest favorite on Saturday was a panel discussion led by Stefan Maupin and special guest Cindy Kent, author of “Better Men: Alpha Upsilon in Vietnam.” The panel included some of the men who are highlighted in Kent’s compilation of stories from 14 Vietnam veterans. Before they became brothers of war, they were brothers at the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Alpha Upsilon chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho, the national agriculture fraternity. 

Other highlights from the weekend included performances from Operation Song, an organization of songwriters who work with veterans and active-duty military to tell their stories through song. 

A variety of military-related vendors were set up in Dinosaur Hall such as Veteran’s Museum of Halls, Tennessee, Irreverent Warriors, Special Ops Xcursions, TN State Guard, TN Army National Guard, UTM ROTC, TN Department of Veterans Services, Wreaths Across America, United States Space Force, Operation Song, Civil Air Patrol,Airforce Special Warfare, Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, United States Marine Corps, Overmountain Victory Trail Association, Tennessee Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Agricenter International, The Veteran’s Museum, Northwest Tennessee SHIP and more. 

This event was sponsored by Union City Coca-Cola and Dixie Gun Works. 

Photos from the weekend can be found on our Flickr Page