Grateful state says its thanks to veterans

Week of observance culminates Friday

jwarren@herald-leader.comNovember 11, 2011 

  • Here are some of the area activities planned for Veterans Day and Veterans Appreciation Week, which continues through Tuesday.

    Bowling Green: Western Kentucky University will honor student, faculty and staff veterans Friday with a continuous slide show at its campuses across the state.

    Frankfort: A Veterans Day Program will be held Friday at 11 a.m. on the grounds of the Old State Capitol, with speakers, the placing of wreaths, patriotic music and a 21-gun salute to all Kentucky veterans.

     The Kentucky Military History Museum, 125 East Main Street, will hold its grand opening at 1 p.m. Friday.

     On Saturday, Air Force and Army ROTC cadets from the University of Kentucky will participate in the annual POW/MIA run from UK to the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Frankfort. Participants will start the 29-mile run at 6:30 a.m. in front of Baker Hall at UK, follow Old Frankfort Pike and arrive at the memorial in Frankfort around noon.

    Hazard: The Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center, 200 Veterans Drive, will honor veterans with ceremonies at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

    Jessamine County: Camp Nelson National Cemetery will hold its traditional Veterans Day program at 11 a.m. Friday with speakers, presentation of the colors, a 21-gun salute and Taps.

    Morehead: Morehead State University will hold a Remembrance Day National Roll Call from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Little Bell Tower on campus. Volunteers will read aloud the names of U.S. casualties from Afghanistan and Iraq. Official ceremony at 1:30 p.m.; moment of silence at 2 p.m. Other college campuses across Kentucky also will participate in the national ceremony.

    Richmond: Eastern Kentucky University will observe Veterans Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with activities at various locations on its campus. Guests may fill out postcards that will be sent to service members overseas.

    Various: Veterans Day observances will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Kentucky veterans cemeteries in Williamstown, Grayson, and Radcliff, and at 10 a.m. CST in Hopkinsville.

    Wilmore: Thomson-Hood Veterans Center will observe Veterans Day on Friday, starting with a parade at 10 a.m., followed by a formal ceremony at 11:11 a.m.

All across the state Friday, Kentuckians will stop their routines to observe Veterans Day, thanking those who have served the nation in peace and war.

Area events marking National Veterans Awareness Week, which runs through Tuesday, got under way Wednesday at Richmond's Armed Forces Reserve Center with a reading of the names of the 106 Kentucky service members who have died during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones in service, were on hand for the ceremony.

On Friday and into next week, Kentuckians will be honoring veterans such as Albert Martin, 87, of Lexington, who drove a truck while serving with the Army in Europe during World War II. He was part of the famed Red Ball Express, the truck convoy system that kept Allied troops supplied as they fought their way from France into Germany in 1944-45.

"Soldiers, food, gas, ammo ... You name it, we hauled it," Martin said. "Patton told us, 'Don't let anything stop you.'"

That was Lt. Gen. George Patton, the tank commander whose fast-moving Third Army relied on the Red Ball's timely deliveries.

Driving for the Red Ball meant long hours pounding over rough roads in summer heat and winter cold. Martin was in truck convoys that were shot up by German planes. He slept on the ground, or in sheds or garages that had survived the shelling. He awoke one morning in Belgium to find himself partially covered with snow.

"I saw some people go out and not come back, so I can't complain," Martin said.

He said he had no definite plans for Veterans Day but he might take in a veterans' dinner or some other event.

Lexington services affected Friday by the Veterans Day holiday:

Government: All state and federal offices closed. City offices are open.

Courts: All courts closed.

U.S. Postal Service: No regular mail delivery, pickup or retail services

Libraries: Closed

Health department: Open

Lextran: Operating on normal schedule

City garbage: Regular schedule

Reach Jim Warren at (859) 231-3255 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3255.

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