By Sen. Jimmy Higdon

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky State Capitol boasts an impressive collection of public art and memorials.

A large bronze statue of former President Abraham Lincoln stands in the center of the Capitol rotunda. Portraits of state Supreme Court justices line the second-floor hallways. As we prepare to observe Veterans Day, however, I want to take time to recognize a bronze plaque displayed on the outside wall of the rotunda, just inside the main entrance to the Capitol.

Sen. Jimmy Higdon

It calls attention to Kentucky’s 60 Medal of Honor recipients – 59 men and one woman who received America’s highest award for valor in action. Medal recipients – like most all veterans – generally prefer the focus to be placed elsewhere.

That’s because they neither compete for the medal nor win it. They earn it with blood, courage and concern for their fellow soldier with little concern for their own safety.

When you understand the 60 such stories accompany the bronze plaque then you understand its power and importance. Our 331,000 living veterans are a testament to that history.

About 12,000 of those served during World War II, 26,000 served during the Korean War, 111,000 served during the Vietnam War, 110,000 served during the Gulf War and 81,000 served during peacetime.

Kentucky Medal of Honor plaque | Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Let us not forget to honor these – and all veterans – on Veterans Day. This year it falls on Sunday, Nov. 11, but is being observed on the following day. Here are just a few of the Veterans Day ceremonies taking place in communities I represent:

  • 11 a.m. Nov. 12 at Veterans Park in Bardstown.
  • 10 a.m. Nov. 7 at Bethlehem High School in Bardstown.
  • 11 a.m. Nov. 12 at the city park in Bloomfield.
  • 4 p.m. Nov. 11 at Veterans Memorial Park in Jeffersontown.
  • 1 p.m. Nov. 9 at Marion County High School in Lebanon, hosted by ROTC.
  • 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at Lebanon National Cemetery.
  • 11 a.m. Nov. 12 at the Veterans Wall in Liberty.
  • 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at city hall in New Haven.

In closing, I want to say thanks again to our veterans. Thank you for your service. We all know that freedom is not free. Your sacrifices will never be forgotten.

Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, is majority whip. He represents the 14th District that encompasses Casey, Marion, Nelson and Spencer counties as well as part of Jefferson County.