Greenup County locals honor their hometown heroes

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GREENUP COUNTY, KY (WOWK) — March 25th is National Medal of Honor Day, and people across the country are honoring their veterans.

Locals in Greenup County are remembering their hometown heroes with a special tribute.

A special ceremony at the Greenup County War Memorial in Kentucky took place in honor of the county’s two Medal of Honor recipients.

Anne Stephens, a resident of the county, sang the national anthem in honor of the occasion, and the Greenup County High School Junior ROTC presented the colors.

“I’m a proud Greenup County-ian today who’s here to honor two people who sacrificed a whole lot for this county, and this country,” says Tom Clay, another Greenup County resident who helped organize the celebration.

On March 25th, 1863, the first Medal of Honor—the highest military honor awarded for valor in action—was given. Since then, only 3,500 people have been awarded this medal:

“…And we are very proud that two of those people came from Greenup County right here: Mr. Ernie West and Mr. John Collier,” Clay says.

To honor them today, Greenup County High School art teacher Bryan Mosier painted two depictions of these hometown heroes performing the actions which earned them the Medal of Honor.

“These were two ol’ boys who worked together at the railroad, and then the United States called and the next thing you know they’re five six thousand miles away fighting the war in Korea,” Clay says.  

Veterans in attendance say it is important to them to remember those who served the country.

“[It] reminds people that we have these heroes, that they should not be forgotten,” says Ed Hicks, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

Their memories are a source of pride for the younger generation, too.

“Even though I didn’t know them or know their families, it’s still special to know that they were in the same place where I grew up,” says Kylie Perry, a staff sergeant with the Junior ROTC at Greenup County High School.

“Some gave all, all gave some.” 

Tom Clay, Greenup County Resident

The Greenup County War Memorial is free and open to the public for anyone who wishes to pay their respects to their local veterans.

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