Global War on Terrorism Memorial Unveiling This Memorial Day

Nestled on 5th Street in Downtown Paducah between Paducah’s City Hall and The McCracken County Courthouse is Dolly McNutt Memorial Plaza. The plaza was named for Former Paducah Mayor Dolly McNutt in honor of her service as a Paducah City Commissioner, Mayor and State Legislator. The plaza has been home to three memorials recognizing veterans who served in World War II, The Korean War and the Vietnam War. Now the plaza is home to a fourth with the addition of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial.

The Global War on Terrorism began on September 11, 2001. While the new monument’s design mimics the design of New York’s Twin Towers, this is not a 9/11 memorial. Its design was chosen since it was that event that started the War on Terrorism.

Since 2001, thousands of men and women from this region have served in this War. Many today still serve. Some have given the ultimate sacrifice. This memorial honors them all.

Paducah Firefighter, Nathan Torian, began a grassroots effort to fund this memorial at the encouragement of WWII Veteran and Former Paducah Fire Chief Leon Dodge.  “I remember the day Leon said to me, ‘we need a memorial to honor those who have fought this war on terror,’” explained Nathan.  “Leon told me there was an empty spot in that memorial park. There were tributes to WWII Veterans, Korean War Veterans and Vietnam War Veterans.  It seemed right there should be one to honor the thousands of men and women who, still today, are fighting the war on terror.”

Chief Dodge connected Nathan to the resources needed to obtain approval for the addition of the memorial to the plaza and begin fundraising efforts. Local architect J. Patrick Kerr designed the monument. Sadly, Chief Dodge passed away a year after the project began. Nathan pushed forward, funding over 50% of the $60,000 project as a grassroots initiative.

“There are no words to adequately express how amazing it feels to see this memorial going into place,” said Nathan.  “There are so many people to thank for their support. The City of Paducah and McCracken County Governments each donated $15,000 toward the project. The remainder was funded by individuals, small businesses and several unions across the state. In addition to cash donors, there are so many people who gave of their time and made in-kind donations. There are too many to name. I am grateful for every one of those people and every single contribution.”

Visit Dolly McNutt Memorial Plaza This Memorial Day

Memorial Day in held to honor Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces. A formal dedication will be scheduled later this year. This Memorial Day, all are encouraged to come by Dolly McNutt Memorial Plaza to see the Global War on Terrorism Memorial. Each tower contains one name honoring two fallen soldiers: Marine Sgt. Christopher Heflin of Reidland, who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004 and Marine Master Sgt. Aaron Torian who also lost his life in 2014 while serving in Afghanistan.

Marine Master Sargeant Aaron Torian

Marine Sargeant Christopher Helflin

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.” — George S. Patton