Henderson's Annual Tribute to Veterans

Before Memorial Day is too far past us, I want to share with the rest of you fine Kentuckians something special that we Hendersonians observe every year.  Our Central Park is always lovely, but this is the time of year when walking or driving by has us all stopping to reflect upon our vast freedoms and those who have served our military forces to preserve them. Imagine gazing out at over 4,600 of these crosses, each one a tribute to a deceased Henderson veteran.

A section of crosses erected annually in Henderson's Central Park

For the past 67 years, these crosses have been displayed in conjuncture with Henderson's unique and emotional Memorial Day Service. I am willing to admit that as a very young child, I thought that all these people were buried in Central Park. I am only admitting this because I bet I'm not alone! Once I grew old enough to know better, I realized what an enduring, tangible reminder our community has of the many sacrifices made by our brave veterans.

Henderson County Judge-Executive, Hugh McCormick, expressed the hope that children would always be present at the annual ceremony and carry on this important tradition. The photos in this post were provided by Henderson County native Rhonda Cravens Richard, who has blessed me with years of friendship and has deep connections to our flag (She was born on Flag Day, naturally!), to exercising our right to vote, and certainly to all generations of her family. She relayed to me the story of her eldest daughter visiting the Central Park crosses of her grandfather and great-grandfather (Rhonda's daddy and grandaddy) with her great-grandmother, Emma Cravens. At that time, Ms. Cravens was able to show her the crosses and tell her all about her grandfather. She has since lost most of her eyesight, which makes the picture below all the more moving. If I know one little girl who will carry the patriotism of the Central Park crosses and the Memorial Day Ceremony in her heart, here she is:

My flag loving friend's sweet daughter, Annaleigh, hearing all about her grandfather and
great-grandfather from her precious great-grandmother.

Read more about this longstanding Henderson tradition in this recent article by the Gleaner.

What does your hometown do to honor its past and present military service members?