Project restores Vietnam War Memorial in Paducah

Gone, but not forgotten. The 32-year-old Vietnam War Memorial in Paducah honors 46 people who lost their lives fighting for our country.

The memorial means everything to Vietnam veteran Jerry McKinney, who was drafted for the war at age 18 in 1969.

"It’s a shocking thing. It makes you grow up real fast, real quick," McKinney said.

McKinney knew many other service members who lost their lives in the war, like the men listed on the plaque in Paducah.

"That’s a part of our history. If we don’t keep it up, nobody will," McKinney said.

McKinney approached McCracken County Commissioner Jerry Beyer earlier this year about worn and chipped paint on the memorial. Beyer went to other city and county leaders and they agreed to a $1,200 project to restore the monument. Keepsake Monuments in Paducah and Benton donated a special paint for granite to the project, so the money will pay the artist for the time she puts into the project.

Linda Ogden, the local artist who also designed the Korean War Memorial, begins repainting the names this week. 

"We’ve lost too many young people through wars, and if I can do anything to honor them, it’s my privilege," Ogden said.

Ogden has a special place for the veteran memorial in her heart. She recently lost two brothers, who were both Vietnam veterans.

"You can’t allow them to run down and be deserted," Ogden said.

McKinney says he is dedicating his life to keeping the memory of the fallen alive. 

The city and county will split the $1,200 cost for Ogden’s work. The city’s half will come from the parks department. The county will be discussing its half Monday night at a fiscal court meeting.

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