During the 45-minute event in front of the new Garrard County Justice Center, speakers also remembered veterans of past wars, especially Vietnam.
“It’s always great to be in Garrard County,” Congressman Brett Guthrie said. “Only in America do we remember everybody.”
Nearby, a traveling Vietnam exhibit and museum depicted thousands of men and women who died during that war. About 600 people visited the exhibit Monday, including school groups, according to Garrard County Economic Development Director Nathan Mick.
“That truck has traveled millions of miles across the country,” Mick said.
The courthouse event featured Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, as a speaker.
Scruggs, who was wounded while serving the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of theU.S. Armyin the war, launched the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1979 with $2,800 of his own money.
State Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, served six years in the Kentucky National Guard during the Vietnam era. He expressed special respect for veterans who die during any war.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here today,” Napier said. “We have freedom because of them. Freedom doesn’t come cheap; in some cases, it has cost lives, families and homes.”
Ret. Army Lt. Gen. Robert Yerks of Madison County made a few remarks before reading the 107 names of Kentuckians who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yerks was injured in both the Korean and Vietnam wars and received 25 awards for valor.
“I’ve seen the sacrifice firsthand of people like yourselves,” Yerks said.
After reading the names and listening to taps, Yerks said of the fallen men and women, “Their ministry was to give their lives for their comrades and their republic.”
Garrard County Judge-Executive John Wilson said of Scruggs’ speech in Lancaster, “What a tremendous honor, what an American hero.”
Wilson and Mick said officials hope to build a memorial in Lancaster to commemorate all men and women in Garrard County who have served in the military. The project is in the early planning stages, and anyone who would like to help is asked to call Jeff Adams at (859) 339-1886.