Saturday, February 24, 2007

Living Near One of America's Largest Military Bases

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...

Tanks on military transport trucksI don't think I've ever seen more tires on a vehicle!

One thing you'd notice if you came to visit Christian County, KY, is the military presence. Fort Campbell, one of America's largest Army bases, is located on the south end of Christian county, right on the state line between Kentucky and Tennessee.

We see military vehicles on the roads, flatcars of military equipment on the railroad, and lots of helicopters in the sky. (Fort Campbell is home to the Screaming Eagles, the 101st Airborne.)

It is a common thing to see a soldier in uniform waiting at the grocery checkout, buying gasoline, or picking up a child at school.

We have military families at our church. My children have had many friends and schoolmates whose parents were in the military. Some of the Boy Scouts in our troop come from military families. When we hear bad news from Iraq, we think of people we know and say a little prayer.

Many people in Christian County fly flags at their homes and places of business. I think most of the flags are an expression of support for the troops as well as an expression of patriotism. When my brother visited here the first time, he commented that he sure saw a lot more flags here than in Kansas!

On the south side of Hopkinsville, we have a small park dedicated to the memory of 248 soldiers from Fort Campbell who died in a plane crash at Gander, Newfoundland in December, 1985. They were coming home for Christmas from peacekeeping duties in the Mideast.

Many career military personnel retire in this area. Fort Campbell has a nice PX, commissary, hospital, and other facilities that they can use as retirees. Recognizing a need, the Kentucky Department of Veteran's Affairs has recently constructed a 73-acre veteran's cemetery on Highway 41-A between Hopkinsville and Fort Campbell.

We came to this area because my husband was transferred to Fort Campbell as a Department of Defense civilian. Many civilians are employed at Fort Campbell, including our neighbor who lives about a mile down the road. She runs a computer lab for a college that offers classes on the post.

I don't usually even think about these things because they are just "life as usual" in this community.

UPDATE 03/30/08:

About 6,000 more soldiers are stationed at Fort Campbell, the headquarters of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, than in 2002, said Kelly Tyler, a post spokeswoman.

Fort Campbell is the third-largest army post in the country, behind North Carolina's Fort Bragg and Texas' Fort Hood. Recent numbers put Fort Campbell's total military population at 30,865, plus 16,546 family members on post. An additional 46,000 live off the post, Tyler said, and often decide to stay in the Clarksville area after their duty has ended.

Quoted from "Clarksville ranks 10th in nation in growth", by Rachel Stults, staff writer, Leaf-Chronicle, March 27, 2008.

American and other flagsFlags at Gander Memorial Park in Hopkinsville, KY
Clockwise: US flag, POW-MIA flag, Kentucky flag, Screaming Eagles (101st Airborne) flag

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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