Kentucky Guard breaks ground for new memorial

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Kentucky Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini, retired Kentucky Guardsmen and board members of the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund break ground for the new Kentucky Guard’s memorial in Frankfort, Ky., May 26, 2014. After several years of planning and fund-raising, the project will begin construction this summer. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. —  Friends and family of the Kentucky Guard joined Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini and hundreds of current and former Citizen Soldiers and Airmen to celebrate Memorial Day by breaking ground for the Kentucky National Guard Memorial in Frankfort, May 26.

After years in the works, construction of the memorial will begin this summer. 1st Lt. Joshua Witt, board member of the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund said the moment is a long time coming.

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Family members of fallen Kentucky Guardsmen are joined by friends, former and current Kentucky Guardsmen during the National Anthem at a ground-breaking ceremony for the Kentucky National Guard Memorial in Frankfort, Ky., May 26, 2014. More than 140 names of fallen Kentucky Guardsmen will be etched in the memorial to be built this summer. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“We have come together finally on Memorial Day 2014 for the event we dreamed of five years ago,” he said. “This is the chance for us to recognize the reality of a $1.3 million fund-raising goal for a project that represents the sacrifice of more than 140 Kentucky Guardsmen that gave their lives since 1912.”

Click here to see more photos from the event.

Witt called the memorial a fitting tribute to Kentucky’s fallen. The memorial will feature a 22-foot wide granite stone in the shape of Kentucky bearing the names of Kentucky National Guard soldiers who have died in the line of duty. So far, 148 Soldiers have been identified to have their names engraved on the stone.

One of those names to be etched is Sgt. James Sherrill who was killed April 3, 2005 in Bayji, Iraq while serving with the 2113th Transportation Company. Sherrill’s mother, father and daughter attended the groundbreaking and agreed that the memorial will bring strength to them and peace of mind.

“I think this will mean a whole lot to us,” said Sherrill’s father, William. “This memorial will be a big part of his memory, it’s going to be really beautiful.”

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William and Beatrice Sherrill point out the picture of their son, Sgt. James Sherrill to Alexandra Sherrill, James’ daughter at a ground-breaking ceremony for the Kentucky National Guard Memorial in Frankfort, Ky., May 26, 2014. Sherrill was killed in Iraq in 2005 while serving with the 2113th Transportation Company. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“Even after nine years, it’s like we are still part of the family,” he said. “It really gives us a great feeling knowing that so many people remember and honor our son.”

The memorial will also include a 9.5-foot tall, solid bronze Daniel Boone statue and a 70-foot wide circle of pavers volunteers are calling the “sacred space.” It will have a separate entrance and its own parking.

Volunteers with the Memorial Fund are hopeful to dedicate the monument next Memorial Day.

 

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