Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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Madisonville, KY - “Freedom is not Free.”  Those are the words of Suzanne Henley in a prayer before a group of Veterans and supporters on Saturday morning.  The members of the American Legion Post – 6 of Madisonville gathered in front of the Hopkins County Courthouse to conduct their annual Memorial Day Ceremony in honor of the men and women who have died serving our country.

Also in her prayer, Henley said, “These loved ones gave their most precious gift they had, their lives.”

Small American flags were placed on the front of the courthouse lawn by the ladies of the Western Kentucky Blue Star Mothers Chapter 7.  The flags are in memory of those who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pamela Coakley of Mortons Gap, was a part of the group.  Coakley placed a flag on the lawn in honor of her son Sgt. William Patrick Rudd.  It is located on the front left corner of the courthouse lawn.  

The 27 year old Rudd was killed by small arms enemy fire on October 5, 2008 during a battle in Mosul Iraq. 
His funeral was held at the Madisonville First Baptist Church which was packed by local citizens of Madisonville and Hopkins County residents who wanted to pay their respects to Rudd and his family.  Following the funeral at the church, mourners lined the streets of Madisonville to pay their respects for the ultimate sacrifice Rudd give for his country.  Rudd's Father, Madisonville Businessman Bill Rudd was invited but had a previously scheduled out of town engagement.

During the ceremony Saturday, veterans and supporters read the names of each service man and woman killed in action from Memorial Day 2008 to Memorial Day 2009. 

Parvin Gibbs said their have been 4300 killed in Iraq and 686 in Afghanistan for a total of 4986, including 82
from Kentucky.  There is 1 POW/MIA in Iraq.

Since last Memorial Day, 212 have been killed in Iraq – 7 from Kentucky, 176 in Afghanistan – 3 from Kentucky.  The total in the last year is 388 with 10 from Kentucky.

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