A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Al Cross: On Memorial Day, we will get to see a story that was almost never told

Fifty-one years ago last month, my Clinton County High School classmate Paul Conner and I got on a bus in Lexington for a 4-H trip to Washington, D.C., our first visit there. We rode up with his parents, Murl and Pauline Conner, whom I knew mainly as mainstays of the local Farm Bureau. I also knew Murl from my work at WANY in Albany, where we would often read a notice that he would be at the courthouse...

Kentucky soldier’s heroism, 20-year campaign for Medal of Honor, subjects of KET documentary May 25

As Americans honor patriotic sacrifice on Memorial Day, KET will premiere the story of a Kentucky soldier who repeatedly put his life on the line for his country – but wasn’t fully honored for it until 73 years later. “From Honor to Medal: The Story of Garlin M. Conner,” airing at 8/7 p.m. ET/CT on May 25, tells the story of one of the most decorated soldiers of World War II – who received...

Woodford Reserve joins Churchill Downs for ‘Kentucky Derby at Home’ celebration on May 2

Woodford Reserve, the Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby, has joined Churchill Downs for a nationwide, at-home celebration that honors the tradition and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby while also raising up to $2 million for people impacted by the global pandemic. The day-long virtual experience will take place on May 2, the original date for the annual race, which has been postponed to Sept....

John Winn Miller: What if Trump had been President of the United States during World War II?

President Trump claims he is a wartime president leading our national fight against the COVID-19 virus. Good thing he wasn’t in office during World War II. Imagine a conference call in which Mr. Wartime President admonishes Gen. George S. Patton in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge for not having stored up enough ammunition to deal with the Nazis’ surprise counter-offensive. “A small group...

EKU alumnus Hardy guiding work clothing manufacturer Carhartt in making protective equipment

William Hardy received a begging phone call on March 13 as COVID-19 began to overwhelm the healthcare system, specifically hospitals. The 1992 Eastern Kentucky University graduate from Irvine, Ky., by birth, current resident by choice, is now running supply chain management at the work clothing manufacturer Carhartt, having worked all the way from “management trainee” to senior vice president. “We...

Ron Daley: Will the coronavirus pandemic unite the country to become the next ‘Greatest Generation?’

Will we Americans meet the challenge as a united nation against the virus as the “Greatest Generation” did against Hitler’s Nazism, Italy’s Fascism, and the Japanese aggression as our patriots did on the battlefield and working in the factories in World War II. It is yet to be determined as we enter the early stages of the war against a new deadly contagion. We are the children, grandchildren...

A bright spot: For 70 years, the arrival of Spring brings bright yellow jonquils to this scenic roadside

For the last 70 years, the arrival of spring has brought with it a bright spot for motorists along U.S. 641 near the Lyon-Caldwell county line.   For about two weeks each year, a half-mile section of U.S. 641 near the 4-mile marker in Lyon County is lined with bright yellow jonquils. The bulbs that create the colorful display were planted by Charles Brockmeyer Jr., with help from his friend and...

Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame announces 2019 inductees; class of 25 Kentuckians to be inducted

The Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced its sixth class of inductees in Frankfort. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes joined the organization’s directors, state officials and the inductees for the announcement in the Capitol Rotunda. “The members of the Hall of Fame represent the best of Kentucky,” said Grimes. “Each of these individuals demonstrate selflessness...

Our Rich History: Remembering D-Day 75 years later — and the heroic veterans who landed at Normandy

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to KyForward World War II (1939-1945) was the largest and most deadly war that the world has ever experienced. No one knows exactly how many people died as a consequence of it. Modern statistics place the number at around 80 million dead worldwide, including both military personnel and civilians. Millions more were temporarily or permanently displaced from their homes, surging...

Kentucky by Heart: Honoring those who paid ultimate price; celebrating milestones at Wilmore Elementary

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist The date June 6, 1944, will always stand out as iconic in American history. That’s when 156,000 Allied troops, including 73,000 U.S. soldiers and marines, stormed beaches in Normandy, France, and began the final stages of victory over Hitler’s Germany and the Axis Powers, bent on domination of Europe, North Africa, and East Asia. Americans fought bravely, paying...

World War II veteran Sidney Walton, making his way to all 50 state capitols, makes stop in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today One of America’s oldest living World War II veterans, who has made a goal of visiting every state capitol in the nation, was in Frankfort on Tuesday. Sidney Walton, who is 99 years old, met with Gov. Matt Bevin at the Governor’s office, the 10th stop on his trip which began April 24 in Providence, Rhode Island, and is scheduled to end on Feb. 11, 2019 – Walton’s...

Kentucky by Heart: Positive experiences at Camp Ernst leave lasting memories for thousands

I recently attended, as an alumnus, a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the YMCA Camp Ernst camp near Burlington in Boone County. I participated at the camp for only one summer, in 1972, as a cabin counselor, but my memories are vivid and positive. The rich experiences of working with children during that short time helped prepare me for teaching elementary students for several decades. Over the...

Secretary of State Alison Grimes meets with Honor Flight veterans departing for capitol

Honoring the service of veterans across Kentucky on Memorial Day weekend, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Saturday morning met and welcomed World War II, Vietnam, and Korean veterans departing on a visit to the nation’s capital. “On this Memorial Day weekend, we join you in honoring the memory and sacrifice of those who stood by you in harm’s way. We also honor your...

World War II veteran, Kentuckian Garlin Murl Conner to be posthumously awarded Medal of Honor

Kentuckian and World War II U.S. Army veteran First Lieutenant Garlin Murl Conner, of Clinton County, will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The announcement came Thursday from President Donald Trump, who will host 1st Lt. Conner’s widow, Pauline Conner, at a White House ceremony at a later date. First Lieutenant Conner had previously received four Silver Stars, one Bronze Star, three...

Former ambassador to Bulgaria James Pardew to speak at Transylvania U., UK’s Patterson School

With current tensions between the US and North Korea on the rise, continued instability in the Middle East, and a resurgent Russia, it is more important than ever to use the United States’ past foreign policy as an avenue of learning and improvement. James W. Pardew As a leading policymaker in the Balkans following the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992, former ambassador to Bulgaria James W. Pardew boasts...

Old Time Kentucky: Christmas report of soldier’s Pearl Harbor demise was greatly exaggerated

By Berry Craig KyForward columnist The Hamlin home in Harlan was joyless seventy-five Christmases ago. On Dec. 16, 1941, Green and Molly Hamlin got the telegram parents most fear in wartime. “The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your son, James Thomas Hamlin, fireman first class, U.S. Navy, was lost in action in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country…,”...

A Fixture: Kentucky’s oldest horse racing official Smothers shows no signs of slowing down at 90

By Jennie Rees Special to KyForward Frank Smothers is the state’s oldest racing official, last week completing yet another meet as Kentucky Downs’ jockeys’ room custodian. He’s not the guy sweeping the floor, but custodian in its broader sense of being a guardian or protector, overseeing the jockeys and valets. Smothers, who has been in horse racing since 1943, also turned 90 years old during...

Kentucky by Heart: Rick Lee is fulfilled by sharing his passion for America’s World War II veterans

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist As a young boy, I was often held spellbound while listening to my father’s stories about his time in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War Conflict. The accounts he shared were compelling, despite the fact that he wasn’t called on to serve in the war zone overseas. He was married and stationed at Camp Pendleton, in California, and two months before his...

Constance Alexander: WASPs served nobly but rights denied at Arlington National Cemetery

Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, played a vital role in World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, they helped make up for a dearth of qualified pilots. Most of their planes were P-51s, smaller aircraft with the capacity to escort B-17s and B-24s on bombing runs to Berlin and back. Eventually, they also ferried fighter planes from manufacturing facilities to faraway ports,...