JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — In a small, private ceremony Monday, the country's finest were honored for their service and their sacrifice in their final resting place at Camp Nelson National Cemetery.
"They had honor and integrity," said Major General Donald Storm (Ret.). "Integrity to do the right thing when everybody's looking and to do the right thing when nobody's looking."
Maj. Gen. Storm, whose career spanned 37 years and included a stint as Adjutant General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, served as the keynote speaker at the event.
"Memorial Day was intended for all Americans to share--at least symbolically--in a collective form of grief," he said.
Hundreds of volunteers came to Camp Nelson last week to place American flags in front of every grave.
In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Storm noted that war is often presented in "big numbers, big figures, and complex concepts that erase the personalization of those who fought."
But he said that walking the grounds at the cemetery is a reminder of the heavy toll of war.
"It makes these wars very, very personal," he said.
While the cemetery has a long history (it once served as training grounds for Union troops during the Civil War), visitors are reminded of the costs of recent conflicts.
"There have been 121 Kentucky service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the Global War on Terror," Maj. Gen. Storm said. "Six are interred here at Camp Nelson."
The Global War on Terror, which commenced after the attacks on September 11, 2001, is approaching its 20th anniversary.
"Today, there are men and women defending our nation in uniform who were born after 9/11," Maj. Gen. Storm said. "Thousands of American lives have been lost or broken fighting the Global War on Terror. An entire generation grew into adulthood without knowing a time of peace."
The Central Kentucky Veterans Committee plans to hold a full ceremony with members of the public on Veterans Day, when veterans, including those who served during the Global War on Terror, will be honored.