Memorial Project History
The first discussions of creating a memorial began in April of 2004 as the Kentucky Guard community struggled with the losses of Sergeant Darrin K. Potter in Iraq; Sergeant Glenn Scott Stanfill on a training mission here in Kentucky and First Lieutenant Robert L. Henderson II in Iraq — all in a period of weeks.
This was tempered with the growing body of research in preparation for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 that many Kentuckians who fought in the War of 1812 were still buried in unmarked mass graves along many trails to and from Canada.
Further evidence of the fleeting memory of the fallen continued to crop up with the discovery of other forgotten historical losses such as Sergeant Thomas J. Brown who died on state active duty in the Kentucky Guard response to the great flood of 1937.
A few dedicated individuals took it upon themselves to not only rescue the fallen from the clutches of a forgetful history but also to ensure that the fallen from the Global War on Terror and any future losses would not be forgotten as have so many in the decades past.
The effort struggled to find champions. In October 2008, a group of friends and former members of the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard struck out on their own bold course and created a nonprofit corporation, the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., to further the effort. The Memorial Fund and was granted tax exempt status as a public charity 501(c) (3) by the Internal Revenue Service in February 2009.
The Memorial Fund had a simple mission then as now — Honor all those who have served as Kentucky citizen-soldiers and especially those who perished in the line of duty.
As the effort matured and seriously tackled efforts to identify the Kentucky Guard men and women who died in line of duty, it soon became apparent that the research to document all those who perished from statehood as members of the militia to present to include the Civil War would be humanly impossible for volunteers in one lifetime. It quickly became apparent that the further back in history one looked, the scarcer documentation of the fallen was and the more difficult it became to know with any degree of certainty the names of those who should be honored.
The board anguished over how to tackle the challenge but finally struck a more achievable objective by focusing on the modern Kentucky National Guard beginning with March 19, 1912 to the present. That was the date that Kentucky adopted the federal legislation known as the Dick Act which mandated significant change including a name change from Kentucky State Guard to the Kentucky National Guard. Thus the efforts focused on finding the fallen, designing, constructing and maintaining a memorial to honor them and educate the public. That effort continues today.
Agreement signed with Commonwealth of Kentucky for use of the necessary property in April 2012.
Ground was broken on Memorial Day 2014, May 26
Smock Fansler of Indianapolis was chosen as the general contractor through a bid process and the contract was signed 8 Aug 2014 that would include the majority of the Memorial site construction work. The initial hope was to be complete and dedicate on Veterans Day 2014. However the process unfolded differently than hoped and now the plan is to have a dedication ceremony on or about 2 p.m. on Memorial Day - Monday, May 25, 2015.
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. To date 231 names of soldiers and airmen who fell in the line of duty (SAD, Title 10, Title 32) will be engraved on the stone.
The memorial will also include a 125% life sized bronze statue of Daniel Boone who was arguably one of the most famous members of the predecessors of the Kentucky Guard. Boone National Guard Center is also named in his honor.
These will be sited on a 70-foot wide granite circular plaza creating a sacred space to honor our fallen.
Daniel Boone statue in final phases of preparation for bronze creation.
Black granite Kentucky shaped stone in final production and should be complete very soon.