A Frankfort veterans monument found its new home on Monday.
The Georgia-Granite memorial that honors Franklin County members of the armed forces was rededicated in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4075 on Second Street. The memorial had sat in front of the Gooch House, across Capital Avenue from the post, since 1986.
Veterans, elected officials, representatives of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and more attended the rededication ceremony, which was held on Veterans Day. The KDA is the new owner of the Gooch House, which previously housed the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce and Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist and Convention Commission.
The monument is a five-sided obelisk, with each face dedicated to one branch of the military. Names of some of the biggest donations for the first installation of the project are on a block beside the memorial, which now stands near the front door of the VFW post.
KDA President Eric Gregory said some private barrels of bourbon made by master distillers at the KDA Bourbon Fantasy Camp will be donated to the VFW to raise money for lighting and landscaping around the monument. The association provided financial backing for the move.
“The biggest controversy we’ve had in this whole thing is which side goes to the front,” Gregory said to a few laughs in the crowd. A different branch of the armed forces is represented on each side of the monument. Because the Army’s face has an inscription about the whole piece, that side faces Second Street.
Mark Mangeot, who was part of the Jaycees’ Veterans Awareness program around 1986, told the crowd Monday that the VFW was the first local veterans group to back the building of the monument along with local government and businesses. Cozine Monument, the company that also moved the monument recently, created the pillar at cost.
“With discussions with the mayor and a lot of folks who put a lot of input in, we decided to do a monument to honor all the veterans, men and women alike who served our country in and out of combat in the 20th century,” Mangeot said. “It encompassed a whole lot of brave people willing to sacrifice everything for the safety of us, which it gives us the right to stand here today and rededicate a monument that we put up 33 years ago.”
He told The State Journal that the site at the Gooch House was chosen because the city had acquired the property a few years prior and the site was visible along Capital Avenue. Its new home at the VFW Post is an appropriate choice, he said, given the support that the group originally gave to the monument.
VFW Post 4075 Commander Bernard Green thanked the crowd and those who helped with the monument’s move for supporting local veterans.
“This is a great privilege to proudly display this tribute to our post. We are really going to enjoy it for the sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and guardians,” he said. “This monument is meant to recognize the men and women of Franklin County who have served their country during the 20th century. Honor members of Post 4075 recognize the value of this monument that will pay respect to all veterans.”