Gov. Beshear pays tribute to veterans at Vietnam War Memorial
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Across the country today, many stopped on this Veteran's Day to say thanks those who served.
Ky. Gov. Steve Beshear paid tribute in a place built to honor those who died in America's least popular war -- a place that has now become a monument to heroes. It's a war memorial unique to the entire country. And it's here that Kentucky officially paid tribute to those who defended America.
Kentucky's Vietnam Veterans Memorial sits in view of the State Capitol. Its sundial design is crafted in such a way that it points to each of the 1,103 Kentuckians who died in Vietnam on the day he was killed.
"You know, it was Winston Churchill who said of his own troops after the Battle of Britain, 'Never has so much been owed to so few by so many,'" said Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen during the Veteran's Day ceremony.
Even as dignitaries paid tribute, the shadow continued to fall on names such as Holland, Patrick, Potter and Gillespie.
"So this place is saturated with grief. But, this is also a place that symbolizes not only loss and suffering, but also courage and honor, commitment and strength," said Gov. Beshear.
The memorial was the brainchild of Kentucky architect Helm Roberts. Jackie Roberts is his widow.
"I think of anything he did in his career, this had to be the most important because it affected so many people," she said.
That includes people like John Mitchell of Louisville. He came home from Vietnam in 1968 to a struggle with drugs, alcohol and even a suicide attempt caused by PTSD.
Yet every year Mitchell comes to this memorial site.
"This is my way of saying, 'Hello, you guys, I'm back again.' I got some friends out there. They're not replaceable," said Mitchell.
And soon, 25 years after it was dedicated, another name will be added. A Louisville soldier whose remains have just been confirmed by DNA.
"It's still a living memorial. There may be others whose remains are sitting in some laboratory awaiting another clue," said Jerry Cecil, a board member of the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
In the meantime, every sunrise will signal a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Although the ceremony is officially over, at this place, every day is Memorial Day -- and Veteran's Day -- for someone.
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