‘Gatlinburg Strong’ becomes rallying cry of those affected by wildfires

(Photo: WKRN)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) – The phrase “Gatlinburg Strong” has become a rallying cry for people affected by the wildfires last November.

It’s a phrase you’ll hear on a regular basis when talking to residents, and even visitors, about the devastation.

There’s no hiding the sadness or heartbreak that most people feel when talking about the lives lost or homes and businesses destroyed.

“Well it has basically been a whirlwind of events. Nothing has been easy,” said Lisa Reagan.

“We pretty much lost everything except the clothes that we had on our backs,” said Shannon Faulkner.

Time heals the wounds. The scars are still there but now the residents who lost so much are going on with life.

“It was one of those days that will live on forever. It was horrible. At noon, it was black outside, the fire was surrounding Gatlinburg, but luckily they saved it,” said Joey Pulley.

There are so many stories to tell, but the most important might be how this town and the communities destroyed are now putting the past behind them.

“One of the slogans is Mountain Tough, and mountain people are tough people, and the people who built Gatlinburg were tough people,” Reagan told News 2.

They have become rallying cries, Gatlinburg Strong and Mountain Tough, but what do they mean?

“Gatlinburg, I think that is just the American way, I think, all Americans are strong and come back when things come against them we grow strength from one another,” said one resident.

Each person has their own interpretation.

“Everybody here didn’t know what it was going to end up being, and they came closer. It gave more unity in the city and county,” added another resident.