Louisville, Kentucky Guard partner to commemorate Veterans Day

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

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Veterans, Service members and the city of Louisville came together to commemorate Veterans Day with a parade and ceremony in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 11, 2014. The event was among a week-long series of events Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer designated the Week of Valor. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —  In honor of Veterans Day, the Kentucky National Guard partnered with the city of Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer and local Veterans organizations to support a patriotic parade and ceremony, Nov. 11, as part of the mayor’s Week of Valor. Fischer designated the week “to honor and celebrate the contributions of active-duty military, veterans and their families.” The series of events will focus on facilitating Veterans’ transition back to civilian life through resources for employment and healthcare.

At the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour Tuesday morning, in tribute to Armistice Day in 1918, the parade began to march through the streets. Hundreds of school children waved American flags along a windy Main Street downtown, as scores of spectators welcomed the parade of Veterans and military Service members.

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Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini joined Fischer and Heather French Henry, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs at the end of the parade route. Tonini contributed the success of the Kentucky Guard today to the Veterans of the community and the Commonwealth.

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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer presents Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini with a plaque honoring the Kentucky National Guard during a Veterans Day ceremony in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 11, 2014. The mayor referred to the Kentucky National Guard as the “best of the best” for their service to the community, the Commonwealth and the Nation. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Olivia Burton)

“The legacy of our veterans, of profound sacrifice and dedication, is what made our modern military the powerhouse it is today,” said Tonini. “We owe so much to our Veterans. That tradition of dedication, sacrifice and excellence lives on in the Kentucky National Guard.”

Henry assisted Tonini in recognizing several recent accomplishments of the Kentucky Guard, including the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry’s winning the Kerwin Award, awarded to the battalion with the highest level of readiness in its respective component. The infantry battalion also won the Eisenhower Trophy for the Army National Guard unit in each state rated the most outstanding during the training year.

The 307th Component Repair Company was recognized for winning the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence and the 2nd Battalion, 75th Recruiting and Retention for meeting its recruiting numbers for an eleventh straight year.

Lastly, the 123rd Airlift Wing of the Kentucky Air Guard received the Metcalf award, bestowed annually by the National Guard Bureau, recognizing the airlift or air refueling unit that demonstrates the highest standards of mission accomplishment. The 123rd also was commended for winning its 16th Air Force Outstanding Award. Making them the most decorated airlift unit in the entire Air National Guard.

The accomplishments even brought Fischer to describe the Kentucky Guard as the “best of the best.”

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Children from Price Elementary School in Louisville, Ky., wave American Flags during a Veterans Day parade in the city, Nov. 11, 2014. The parade was followed by a massing of the colors ceremony including color guards of local high school Junior ROTCs and local Veterans organizations. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“The City of Louisville has a great partnership with the Guard. They do all kinds of things here in our community as well as serving our country.” said Fischer. “We can always count on them.”

Fischer recognized organizations such as the Veterans Community Alliance of Louisville who support Service members and local businesses including UPS and Ford with initiatives to employ current and former military personnel. Fischer expressed his hopes that the Week of Valor would bring attention to the resources and programs designed to improve Kentucky Veterans’ lives.

“Our goal here in Louisville is to become the most Veteran-friendly city in the whole United States of America.”

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