I am certain that I am not the only one grateful to have the election almost entirely behind us and that Kentucky’s next regular election will take place in 2022 — that means two more years before we have to see another television commercial, hear another radio ad or receive another mail piece.
I think we can all agree that it is time to put politics aside and get to work. However, first I want to share my gratitude. I am extremely humbled and thankful to each and every one of you that saw fit to send me back to Frankfort. While I know that not everyone voted for me, I will do my best to serve everyone in this district. I also want to extend my appreciation to the folks who made this election possible — the men and women who volunteered at our polls in order for the rest of us to cast our votes. They were courteous and professional and worked hard to keep us safe.
On Veteran’s Day — today — we pay respect to those men and women. Presidents and elected leaders may come and go, but the United States veteran stands always prepared to ensure this great experiment continues. The 11th day of November is set aside every year as Veterans Day. It was established by Congress in 1938 to celebrate the brave men and women, past and present, who have served and continue to serve the United States of America.
It takes someone very special to be a veteran. When I think of the American soldier, I am reminded of the words of an unknown writer that really portray the two most important sacrifices made for us: “Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”
Regardless of which branch of our Armed Services someone serves in, they must be prepared to put politics aside and defend all Americans. They understand that the left wing and the right wing are equally important in flight.
They recognize that the United States Constitution is a sacred document that was signed with pen in ink by our founding fathers, but fought for with the blood of patriots. That is why we each need to reflect on what it is to be a soldier and what it means to sacrifice all of yourself for the greater good. I think if more of us thought that way, we might not have the great divide that faces us in America today.
If you want to reflect on our veterans, there is no easier way to do that than to look at how we honor them across our state. In county seats and towns across the commonwealth, you will see monuments to their bravery. In communities like Radcliff, Williamstown and Hopkinsville, you will find the graves of hundreds of our veterans, lined up as if standing in formation. They live out their lives in nursing homes in Hazard, Hanson, Wilmore and Radcliff.
Of course, memorials also exist in town squares and reminders stand at our military installations. At the main entrance to Fort Knox, you will find an M48 Main Battle Tank, the first generation of its kind. Those tanks were once instruments of war and are now reminders that they were deployed in the name of peace throughout our world. Daniel Boone, who defended the colonies in the French and Indian War and later our frontier from the British in the American Revolution, stands guard at the Kentucky National Guard’s Boone Center in Frankfort.
These memorials and monuments are important, but we must serve the veterans of today in meaningful ways. That is why, as long as I am a member of the Kentucky legislature, I will do everything in my power to make Kentucky the most military-friendly state in our nation. That means something as simple as streamlining school registration for the children of active duty service men and women, to eliminating bureaucratic red tape for those transitioning to civilian life. It also means recognizing that military service is an honorable career option that offers great potential for Kentucky students.
If you are a veteran, I would like to hear from you regarding your interest in this state and any issues you are concerned with that may be addressed during the upcoming 2021 legislative session. I can be reached at home anytime or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181.
DANNY BENTLEY is a representative for the 98th District of the Kentucky House of Representatives.