FRANKFORT, KY (1/18/12) – With the goal of permanently recognizing those Kentuckians who lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, state Reps. Tom McKee and Mike Denham have filed legislation that would set the stage for a permanent memorial.
“With military operations officially over in Iraq and a timetable set to wind down our presence in Afghanistan, it is more important than ever that we mark this time by paying tribute to those brave soldiers from Kentucky who gave their all,” said Rep. McKee, D-Cynthiana.
“The wars we have fought in that region of the world, both in the early 1990s and over the last decade, have taken a tremendous toll on those who serve, especially those who call Kentucky home,” said Rep. Denham, D-Maysville. “The commonwealth has a long history of doing more than her fair share, and our work during these wars is further proof of that. It’s vital that we never forget that.”
House Bill 256 would establish the Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial Committee, which in turn would look for the best location in the state to honor the six Kentuckians who died in Operation Desert Storm and the 104 who have perished in Operation Iraqi Freedom and, in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom.
If the legislation becomes law, those serving on the commission would include representatives from the governor’s office; the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet; the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs; the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs; and the Joint Executive Council of Veterans Organizations.
After determining the best location for the memorial, the commission would then be charged with overseeing its design, construction and the funding to get it built. The legislation calls for the preliminary work on design and location to be done by Oct. 1, 2012.
Rep. McKee credited Blue Licks State Resort Park Manager Michael Schwendau for being the inspiration for the legislation. “Given the sacrifices these fallen soldiers have made, he thought we needed to recognize this in a permanent way, and Rep. Denham and I agreed.”
Information provided by Brian Wilerson
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