This month there will be two opportunities to honor local veterans who fought in World War II, the Vietnam War or the Korean War.

The first will be Tuesday, Oct. 15 as several WWII veterans will leave Hopkinsville to go on the Bluegrass Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

The second will be the Friday of that same week, Oct. 18 as Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ben Adams will be handing out new Korean War medallions to local Korean War veterans.

Five veterans along with four guardians will be leaving at 9 a.m. Tuesday from the Cornell Memory Center, where there will also be a departing ceremony to honor those veterans.

They will then meet another group of veterans in Owensboro, where they will take buses to Louisville.

That night in Louisville there will be a reception held for the veterans before they take flight to Washington D.C. early Wednesday morning. Once in D.C., veterans will honor fallen soldiers at the war memorials.

That Tuesday morning the public will gather at the Cornell Memory Center to help honor the veterans and wish them safe travels as they depart to go on the honor flight.

Lela Hale, professional service coordinator for Christian Care Communities and Friendship House, said, for the veterans, the flight is not so much about them being honored as it is about them honoring their fallen friends, family and all that died serving during the wars.

"Most of these (veterans) are not really showy people, they're real laid back and humble," Hale said. "They did what they had to do and came back and lived their lives and they don't dwell on it or talk much about it.

"We've talked about the flight and what it means -- to go and honor the people that did not come back home. It's such a special thing."

Hale also added "there is nothing like" being able to walk with the veterans as they look at the war memorials in D.C. and remember those events and tell stories.

The opening ceremony of the flight Tuesday morning will also be a good chance to greet the veterans and talk with them and Hale encourages everyone to do so.

"These folks are walking history," Hale said. "They can tell you things and share experiences that you can't read in a history book. It was a whole different world back then and we have it pretty made right now and we all take it for granted.

"When you talk to these folks, if they hadn't made the sacrifices they made, our lives wouldn't be as sweet and lovely they are right now. I encourage anybody and everybody to come out to both events."

Following the honor flight, at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18, the Christian Care Communities campus in Hopkinsville will host Commissioner Adams as he presents a new medallion for Korean War veterans. The new medallion is called the Ambassador for Peace Medallion.

Hale shared that she believes that this ceremony is important to the Korean War veterans as they are sometimes overlooked.

"It's going to be a great thing for them, just to be honored," Hale said. "I think Korea is called the forgotten war. Nobody talks about much. WWII was the big one, because it changed the course of the world.

"Any kind of recognition and appreciation we can give to any veteran, we need to do it. I know the veterans are going to be very, very appreciative of just being recognized for the sacrifices they made."

So far, there are 10 Korean War veterans that will be attending the medallion ceremony. However, it is open to the public and Hale encourages any Korean War veterans or their families that are interested in receiving a medallion to contact her.

She added that if any veterans or their families are interested and don't have the opportunity to go to the ceremony on Friday, she will help schedule Adams to return for an additional ceremony.

Both events will be held regardless of weather Hale said, adding that they will celebrate the veterans whether it's raining, snowing or sunny.

To contact Hale, call her at 270-890-0663. For more information on the honor flight, you can visit honorflightbluegrass.org.

Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or aseeger@kentuckynewera.com. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra.

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