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Louisville has a proud and decorated military heritage.
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The cemetery is one of 112 national cemeteries in the United States; one of seven located in Kentucky, and contains the grave of the nation’s 12th president, Zachary Taylor (1784-1850). Veterans representing six wars – the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War – are also buried there. Each year on Nov. 24 – Taylor’s birth date – military personnel from Fort Knox conduct a wreath-laying ceremony at the cemetery. For more information: www.cem.va.gov/CEMs/nchp/zacharytaylor.asp.
The Patriots Peace Memorial is a one-of-a-kind memorial dedicated to the memory of those United States military personnel who have given their lives in the line of duty under conditions other than those of declared hostile action. Ever mindful that military readiness is a dangerous endeavor, this community has now enshrined more than 400 patriots in the memorial. As a name is added, a brick is removed and replaced with personalized etched glass identifying each patriot, signifying our loss. This void in an otherwise solid wall becomes a portal of light transforming the interior by day and radiating outward at night through each name as a reminder to celebrate daily the joy of freedom purchased and safeguarded by these brave men and women.
The Patriots Peace Memorial is located east of downtown Louisville next to Thurman-Hutchins Park on River Road, east of Zorn Avenue. For more information: www.patriotspeacememorial.org
The design concept is in the form of a large sundial. The stainless steel gnomon casts its shadow upon a granite plaza. There are 1,100 names of Kentuckians on the memorial, including 23 missing in action. Each name is engraved into the plaza, and placed so that the tip of the shadow touches his name on the anniversary of his death, thus giving each fallen veteran a personal Memorial Day.
The location of each name is fixed mathematically by the date of casualty, the geographic location of the memorial, the height of the gnomon and the physics of solar movement. The stones were then designed and cut to avoid dividing any individual name. The resulting radial-concentric joint pattern suggests a “web,” symbolic of the entangling nature of this war. For more information: www.kyvietnammemorial.net.
The Purple Heart Trail is a state-by-state effort to recognize the efforts of veterans who have fought in wars and received a Purple Heart for their injuries. About 37 states have a highway named for the Purple Heart. Kentucky designated Interstate 64, which runs east to west from West Virginia to Indiana, a Purple Heart Trail in August 2003.
The General George Patton Museum on Fort Knox is a world-class military museum that offers a wide array for weapons and armor as well as a piece of the Berlin Wall and a display on the U.S. Bullion Depository (Gold Vault). The Patton Gallery provides a glimpse of the general's life and offers a large collection of his personal effects to include his ivory handled pistols. The museum is open seven days a week and is free. Armor Memorial Park is located on grounds adjacent to the museum and pays tribute to the soldiers and units who have served our country. Additional information about these attractions is at www.generalpatton.org.