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Cadiz hangs hundreds of banners to honor local military service members

"Hometown Hero" banners adorn the streets of Cadiz.
Janelle Nichols
/
City of Cadiz
"Hometown Hero" banners adorn the streets of Cadiz.

A new Cadiz initiative is paying tribute to local military veterans.

The Trigg County community is now decked out with more than 350 banners honoring past and present military service members, but that’s only the beginning.

Announced via Facebook this spring, the “Hometown Hero Banner Project” allows residents to nominate former and active duty service members who have lived in Cadiz at any point in their lives to be recognized on lamp posts throughout the city.

Trigg County Magistrate Mike Wright said he was inspired in 2019 by a drive through an upstate New York community that had done the same thing. He thought it would be a good fit for Cadiz, too.

“It has been one of the most unifying things, I think, for our city and county in a long time,” Wright said. “It’s also important for our youth to see how many people have sacrificed over the years and moved away from home and left their family and put themselves in such danger.”

The first round of applications in April brought forth 125 banners — swiftly followed by 245 more before the August cutoff. Although banner production will enter a hiatus on account of the annual Trigg County Country Ham Festival this month, officials said they’ll accept another round of applications in 2024 due to the popularity of the initiative.

“We’re still getting calls and people coming in about it because they’re just finding out,” said Cadiz Main Street Director Janelle Nichols. “Since we had such a great interest, we want to let these [current] flags be up before we open it up to more.”

Interest was so strong, Nichols noted, that the banners now stretch from their initially envisioned home in downtown Cadiz as far as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store off Hopkinsville Road. Those who purchased banners during the first two rounds will most likely be extended the offer to keep them for personal use if they’re removed in the future.

Cadiz Mayor Todd King said the idea appealed to him because the city would be able to give back to the many residents who had served their country at one time or another.

“It was no question about it – whenever he brought it to our attention – to jump on board with this,” King said. “It puts cold chills on me knowing that people have fallen for our country, and we’re recognizing them at the time that we are. We will never turn anyone away who wants a banner hung up.”

Without the strong support of the city, Wright added, the project may not have come to fruition the way it did. The local parks and recreation department partnered with the tourism office to purchase about $12,000 worth of brackets to hang the banners on lamp posts.

“Veterans are humble people usually, but still, many of them have called and said, ‘Thank you for the idea and the background work to bring it here,’” Wright said. “I know that many families of these veterans have made special trips to Cadiz to take pictures under their veteran’s flag. That’s what it’s all about: coming together.”

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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