NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee National Guard celebrated the life of former President James K. Polk in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tennessee State Capitol Nov. 2 in honor of Polk’s 227th birthday.
Each year, a representative of the current president is responsible for placing a wreath on the tomb of past presidents to honor them and their service on their birthday. Col. James Scates, the Tennessee National Guard’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, represented President Joe Biden at the ceremony.
“It was a privilege and honor to represent the president today,” said Scates. “As a Tennessean, I’m flattered to be able to commemorate President Polk for all he has done for our state and country.”
During the ceremony, Scates and Sarah Elizabeth Hickman-Mcleod, James K. Polk Association board member, laid a wreath on Polk’s tomb.
Polk was the 11th president of the United States from 1845 to 1849. During his presidency, Polk directed the country’s efforts in the Mexican-American War. When the war began, Polk issued a call for volunteers to fight. He asked for 2,600 soldiers from Tennessee, and 30,000 answered the call, establishing forever Tennessee’s reputation as the “The Volunteer State.”