Northern Kentucky celebrates Veterans Day with new tradition

Story by Spc. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Members of the Kentucky National Guard’s 202nd Band perform during the Freedom Is Not Free Veterans Day event in Florence, Ky., Nov. 10, 2013. The inaugural event brought together participants from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio to pay tribute to Service members and local first responders. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Brandy Mort)

FLORENCE, Ky. — Every year communities across the country come together to celebrate Veterans Day and pay tribute to Service members past and present and local first responders, such as, firefighters and police officers. This year, a new celebration took shape, bringing the Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio tri-state areas together to honor those who sacrifice for our country.

The inaugural Freedom Is Not Free event was held at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. Nov. 10.

“Freedom is not Free recognizes and celebrates the contributions of veterans as well as first responders for their courage and commitment to protecting freedom at home and around the world,” said Jodie McFarland, Director of Public Relations for the celebration, “The event is the first of its kind in over a century to involve the entire tri-state region in commemorating the Veterans Day holiday.”

To see more photos from the event, click here.

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Members of Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Pipe and Drum Corps perform during the Freedom Is Not Free event in Florence, Ky., Nov. 10, 2013. The Ohio group helped kick off the program with their renditions of several patriotic themes. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Brandy Mort)

Organized by retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col., Joe Hinds, Freedom is not Free was sponsored by the cities of Florence, Covington, Alexandria, Independence, and Carrollton in Kentucky; Hamilton, Montgomery, and West Chester in Ohio; and Rising Sun in Indiana.

Hinds served for over four decades and four different branches; Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. He retired near the tri-state and couldn’t think of a better place to bring the celebration.

“It’s a magnificent feeling to be a part of something so spectacular,” said Hinds. “Not only are we honoring our veterans, but we are unique in honoring our first responders as well.”

Brig. Gen. Scott A. Campbell, the Kentucky National Guard’s assistant adjutant general, delivered the keynote message for the event. Campbell spoke of the meanings of Veterans Day, whom it’s for, and why we remember it.

“Veterans encompass many different kinds of people who serve our country in many diverse ways,” said Campbell, “They represent the very best of America. This includes the men and women of the National Guard. They volunteer to sacrifice, train and support local citizens at a moments notice, whenever they are needed.”

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Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell, assistant adjutant general for the Kentucky Army National Guard speaks during the Freedom Is Not Free Veterans Day event in Florence, Ky., Nov. 10, 2013. Campbell spoke of the importance in honoring the Veterans of our country and the role the National Guard plays both home and abroad. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The audience also heard recorded messages from former Presidents, and a variety of musical compositions from bands and choirs around the tri-state, which included the Kentucky National Guard’s 202nd Army Band.

A large public crowd enjoyed the free program, including many Veterans of World War II and Vietnam. This event marked the first of its kind for Northern Kentucky and Hinds hopes it will continue for many years to come.

 

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