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Presidential visits and ties to East Tennessee

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President Donald Trump pumps his fist after signing an executive order and a memorandum on rural broadband access at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention in Nashville. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press) President Donald Trump pumps his fist after signing an executive order and a memorandum on rural broadband access at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention in Nashville. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)
WBIR -

While we may know it more for its shopping deals and day off from school, President's Day is meant to pay tribute to our nation's leaders.

While Tennessee hasn't been the birthplace of any presidents yet, the state has been considered home for several of our nation's leaders.

The wheels of Air Force One are no stranger to Knoxville. Presidents from John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford have paid a visit during their lifetime.

President Jimmy Carter stopped for a trip to Oak Ridge. President Ronald Reagan made our city a frequent stop during his term, even helping open the 1982 World’s Fair.

President George H.W. Bush visited the University of Tennessee on his campaign trail and the following term Bill Clinton would take his turn with Tennessean Vice President Al Gore.

Their trip in 1996 marked the first time both Air Force One and Air Force Two landed at McGee Tyson Airport on the same day.

The younger Bush would come next.

“It was very exciting, any time a president visits even if you don't know them personally it’s an honor to have them come to our city,” said former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe. Ashe went to college with President George W. Bush.

Hundreds filled the streets to see the presidential motorcade, a scene that would repeat several years later as President Barack Obama visited in January 2015.

Most recently, President Donald Trump visited Knoxville as a candidate a year before he would be elected the nation's 45th president.

Long before our nation's leaders had the luxury of flying, East Tennessee was still on their radar.

At just age 16, Andrew Johnson ran away from home to Greeneville, Tennessee. First a tailor, he would later become governor and then president.

Read more from WBIR's website.

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