ELIZABETHTON — After 25 years of volunteer civic service that included restarting the Fourth of July Parade in downtown Elizabethton and maintaining the giant flag that stands at the western entrance to downtown, Bob Cable
has announced he
"It is just time.For personal and private reasons it is just time," Cable
said of his
"I don't get pleasure out of this, but it is just time," he
said as tears came to his
, 72, would not go into specific detail on why he
chose to step down at this time, he
plans on spending more time with his
wife, including taking a 13-day cruise of the Mediterranean.
contended since East Elk was a city street and not a state highway, the lines could remain in their patriotic colors.
Those colors were allowed to remain until after this year's parade.They were changed to all white this week.Cable
involvement in the community began with the Covered Bridge Festival many years ago.The event is sponsored by the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce
and as a member, he
sold T-shirts, cotton candy and other items.He
said those events were good ones, with professional entertainment such as Dave Friday, Marlow Tackett and The Collegians each night drawing large crowds.
A few years later, Cable
became involved in the care and maintenance of the giant American flag that was erected to honor the Elizabethton soldiers who served in Desert Storm.
After the flag had been up a while, Cable
said J.I. Cornett, Carter County Veterans Council president, came to Cable's upholstery shop and asked if he
could make repairs to the flag.Cable
agreed and soon took over responsibilities of not only making repairs, but also erecting new ones when the flags became unserviceable.
"It takes 8,500 stitches from one end of the flag to the other," Cable
experience also led him to acquire his
own personal giant flag which he
provides for patriotic occasions.His Chamber involvement also led him to become a leader in the annual Christmas Parade and lighting of the giant Fraser fir that serves as the community Christmas tree.He
expanded the ceremony to more than just a dignitary throwing the switch to light the tree.More people became involved, including high school choirs, the Overmountain Men re-enactors and more patriotism, with the display of his
giant American flag. His work at Christmas also expanded to include supervision of the downtown Christmas lights.
"Every morning I got up at 5 a.m. and checked every bulb, making notes of those that are burned out and those that have been vandalized, the vandals seem to like to destroy the Peace on Earth display," Cable
As if that wasn't enough to do at Christmas
also became involved with Elizabethton Electric System employees to replace the weather worn Christmas lights on top of Lynn Mountain.
"That was the best thing I ever did," Cable
said of the new lights and the three Christian crosses on top of the mountain.Cable
also brought back the Fourth of July parade to downtown after it had died out in the 1970s.
This project has taken much of Cable's time and effort over the past three years.
"There is not a day that went by that I didn't do something on the parade.I kept a tape recorder and, as I thought of things, I would record them," Cable
"I started working on the Fourth of July parades to the Fifth of July of the year before," Cable
said."You have to do it that way because everything gets spoken for early on."He
was proud that he
got National Guard helicopters to fly over the parade route each of the three years he
has organized it and said it is unusual to get such consistent support.
"I am through with all of this," Cable
has unselfishly given so much of his time to the parades and the Christmas
tree and the lights on Lynn Mountain and the flag.