FRANKFORT | As Kentuckians are reminded of the roles ancestors played in the Civil War, officials announced the inclusion of two Civil War soldiers from Mason and Bracken counties, and a seaman from Fleming County on a plaque identifying the 60 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from Kentucky.
The unveiling, March 15, was attended by three of Kentucky's five living Medal of Honor recipients, including Pfc. Ernie West of Greenup County who served in the Korean War, Staff Sgt. Don Jenkins of Butler County who served in the Vietnam War, and Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer of Taylor County who served in Afghanistan.
"It's a privilege to present this plaque that proudly lists the names of individuals who have selflessly served our country and fought for our freedom," Gov. Steve Beshear said. "This symbol of their sacrifice and bravery can now be shared with the thousands of capitol visitors, who can pay their respects and acknowledge the amazing achievements of these individuals."
All three living honorees were also recognized on the floor of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military honor awarded by the United States government.
The Civil War soldiers are Sgt. John S. Darrough of Mason County and Sgt. Francis M. McMillen of Bracken County.
U.S. Naval officer Watertender Edward A. Clary of Fleming County, served in action in peacetime between 1871 and 1910.
Rep. Mike Denham, who supported the 2011 legislation which authorized the plaque, said he was proud to join with Sen. Walter Blevins, and Sen. Robin Webb, to formally recognize soldiers who hailed from their districts.
"I proudly join with Sen. Webb to thank Sgt. Darrough and Sgt. McMillen from our shared district in Mason and Bracken County for their service, while simultaneously joining Sen. Blevins in proudly recognizing the service of Watertender (Edward) Clary from our shared district in Fleming County," said Denham. "Were it not for these men, and the sacrifice of all our U.S. servicemen and servicewomen, the United States would not be the land of freedom that it is today."
The plaque will hang in the Capitol Rotunda, opposite the statue of Abraham Lincoln, whose administration worked with Congress to create the Medal of Honor in 1862 to recognize acts of valor during the Civil War, Beshear said.