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Knoxville National Cemetery crop
Knoxville National Cemetery

One hundred years ago this month, Knoxville native and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, graduate Hugh Eckel was killed in northern France during an assault on German territory. Less than a month later, World War I ended and Eckel was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and buried in the Knoxville National Cemetery.

This is just one of many stories waiting to be told on November 3 when UT’s Center for the Study of War and Society, in conjunction with the East Tennessee History Center, holds a day of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Free and open to the public, the activities begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 3, at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 South Gay Street.

Four faculty members from UT’s Department of History will speak on topics ranging from the Civil War to World War I as they relate to local history and commemoration:

  • Luke Harlow, associate professor and director of graduate studies, “Civil War Memory”
  • Monica Black, associate professor and associate department head, “Comparative Memorialization Across Countries”
  • Patricia Rutenberg, senior lecturer, “Memorials in the United States”
  • Vejas Liulevicius, Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and director of the CSWS, “Knoxville and World War I”

After the speakers, the center will premiere a short documentary detailing the Veteran Legacy Program in Knoxville. This program, which was created by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, seeks to produce educational outreach programs about national cemeteries with the help of local universities and schools.

Through the program, UT’s center was awarded nearly $77,000 for initiatives to memorialize veterans. Students at the university have worked alongside the Veteran Legacy Program to compile previously incomplete veterans’ biographies and develop learning materials about Knoxville veterans and cemeteries.

The day will culminate with a historic walking tour of Knoxville National Cemetery led by local historian Jack Neely, executive director of the Knoxville History Project. Those who are unable to attend the lectures can still join the walking tour which will begin at noon.

“World War I was very significant for the Knoxville National Cemetery, as many of those who perished or served overseas were brought back to Knoxville to be buried with all honors,” said Liulevicius.

For more information on the lecture, exhibitions, or museum hours, visit the East Tennessee History Center website at


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,