Kentucky National Guard honors Daniel Boone’s legacy

Staff report

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Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini was the primary guest speaker at the Boone’s Trace Dedication Ceremony held at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park on 14 June 2014. Tonini was joined by Steven and Stephanie Caudill a.k.a “Daniel and Rebecca Boone.” (US Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Rebecca Wood)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard gave a salute to the legacy of Daniel Boone during the dedication of the Boone Trace Project at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park on Saturday, June 14.

Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, spoke during ceremony at the park near Middlesboro.

“Daniel Boone’s legacy is alive and well in the Kentucky National Guard,” said Tonini.  “After two centuries his influence still affects our training and our fighting spirit.”

The dedication ceremony opened the first phase of a 120-mile corridor that traces the footsteps of Boone as he marked a path for settlers to follow into Kentucky.

Sam Compton, president of the Boone Society Inc., an association of Boone descendants, said the pioneer is uniquely linked to Kentucky and its military history. Boone, who served as a militia colonel during the American Revolution, fought with family members at the Battle of Blue Licks, the last battle of the American Revolution in Kentucky. His son, Israel, died there.

“Family, honor, and duty were the foundations of his actions,” Compton said. “He was a leader, a protector, and a patriot.

Click here for more photos of this event.

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A Kentucky National Guard color guard was part of the dedication ceremony. (US Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Rebecca Wood)

According to Tonini, the legendary Kentuckian’s role as a protector continues even today.

“In Frankfort we are building the Kentucky National Guard Memorial, which will honor nearly 500 citizen soldiers and airmen who have died in the line of duty since 1912,” he said.  “Standing guard in front of the memorial will be a larger than life bronze statue of Daniel Boone, protecting the memory of those who have followed him into the pages of history.

“It will be a magnificent sight to behold, to see this grand rendition of this legendary hero, standing watch over our soldiers and airmen, just as he did when he and his thirty axmen blazed a trail through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky.”

The Boone Trace corridor will have education stations along the way for families and students to learn about the founding of Kentucky and the beginning of America’s westward movement.

Daniel Boone on the trail

Daniel and Rebecca Boone — portrayed by Steve and Stephanie Caudill — lead settlers through the historic Boone Trace in a reenactment at the Cumberland Gap National Park. (US Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Rebecca Wood)

“It is not always a happy story, but it is our nation’s history; all of us should know something about it to better understand what it means in our third century to be an American,” Compton said.

The dedication included a re-enactment of the first settlers crossing the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone, portrayed by Steve Caudill.  Members of the public participated in the walk, representing the 250,000 settlers who passed through the Gap between 1775 and the early 1800s.

“The Boone Trace Project is a dynamic and changing collection of venues and activities,” added Compton. “Together they offer visitors to southeast Kentucky a variety of opportunities to connect with the life and times of Daniel Boone and those who came with him and who followed him into America’s First Frontier. New events and new opportunities for connecting with the Boone Trace and its story are being created now. Others are being planned for the future. The Boone Trace Project is about bringing history to life and life to history. It’s a great American story, and it starts here.”

More information about the Boone Trace Project is available at www.boonesociety.org.

 

 

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