Joe P. Asher
Plans are being made to build a memorial dedicated to the veterans of eastern Kentucky.
The Tri-Cities Heritage Development Corporation, in conjunction with the Harlan County Fiscal Court, are working with a committee consisting of veterans and non veterans from Cumberland, Benham and Lynch to get the memorial built.
The memorial will be named the Eastern Kentucky Veterans Memorial, and is planned to be built on land owned by Harlan County adjacent to the Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Cumberland.
Tri-Cities Heritage Development Corporation President Cleon Cornett noted that the eastern Kentucky area has been the birthplace of a large number of military veterans.
“On a per capita basis, Eastern Kentucky has given up more of its sons and daughters for the defense of this nation than any other part of our country,” said Cornett. “Therefore, we are long past due in memorializing those that gave some and some that gave all.”
According to Cornett, the memorial will also recognize the role coal has played in the region.
“I had asked the architect when we started to try and incorporate coal in this where he could, for obvious reasons, since so many coal miners are veterans,” said Cornett. “What he did, the bottom tier of the wall, is coal. There are benches, the tops of those benches are made from coal. It will be treated, so you don’t get your pants dirty.”
Cornett noted the memorial will be inclusive of all veterans.
“We wanted to make it as inclusive as we could,” said Cornett. “We didn’t want to call it the Tri-Cities Veterans Memorial or the Harlan County Veterans Memorial. We wanted to expand and make it cover as large an area as we could.”
Cornett said the memorial will be for all veterans of all branches of the military, both combat and non combat.
The memorial is expected to be completed by December 2014, but has been designed in an open ended fashion in order to accommodate additions at future dates. Memorial walking paths, shelters, and other such features may be added later.
Cornett said the project will be funded for the most part through grants. Cash donations and sale of memorial plaques to be placed on the wall will be an additional source of funding.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org