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Kentucky General Assembly’s 11th annual Military Kids Day honors those whose parents serve

Stu Johnson
Tuesday was Military Kids Day at the state capitol, and 80 children, most of them the sons and daughters of servicemen and women, took part in a wide range of activities.

Aside from a break during the pandemic, Military Kids Day has become a tradition in the General Assembly. Tuesday’s was the 11th. State Senator Jimmy Higdon introduced the concept to his colleagues, but he says the idea came from the wife of a National Guard soldier who’d been deployed many times.

“She said, ‘You really need to do something for military kids. They, they serve also, and they make a lot of sacrifices.’ So we did. And, you know, it's been a great event every year, has become a tradition here in the General Assembly at the state capitol, and we're just excited about today.”

Most of the 80 young people who signed up for Military Kids Day are children of servicemen and women, but some are serving themselves, like 20-year-old Jackie Zheng of the Army National Guard. His unit is based in Central City and he was in uniform before the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.

“I would like to thank the members of the committee today for giving me the opportunity to come here and appear in front of you all and for doing your part to help our soldiers and our veterans.”

Sons and daughters of servicemen and women introduced themselves to an appreciative committee.

“Hi, my name is Braden and I am 13. My dad is a career counselor in the Army.”

“My name is Mason. I'm 13 years old and my mom's in the Army.”

“My name is Reagan. I'm 14 years old and my dad's in the Army.”

The day-long thank you included a scavenger hunt, box lunch, flight simulator practice, tour of the capitol and more. Among other things, it was a day in which Republicans and Democrats laid down their arms, so to speak. Higdon said some of the guests of honor might return one day as state representatives or senators.

“These kids, you know, they're very patriotic, because their family serves in the military. And I think that that public service is probably in the future for a lot of these young folks.”

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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