FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Surrounded by soldiers and other emergency
responders, Gov. Ernie Fletcher led a solemn Capitol ceremony Tuesday to remember victims of the terror attacks six years ago and
pay tribute to soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ceremony came on the same day officials announced the death of a Kentucky National Guard soldier when his vehicle overturned while on a mission in Iraq.
Pfc. Sammie E. Phillips, 19, of Vine Grove, was the third Kentucky guardsman killed in two weeks. Two other guardsmen were injured in the crash that killed Phillips.
Fletcher told a crowd gathered outside the Capitol that the terror attacks six years ago "began a new war unlike any war we've ever faced."
The ceremony drew a bevy of Kentuckians in uniform, including guardsmen, state troopers, fire officials, police officers and other emergency personnel.
With a huge American flag as a backdrop, Fletcher said the country cannot "shrink back" from an enemy that brought the war "to our shores."
"Let us not fail to go forward, and to let the enemies that would try to strike fear in our hearts know that we are resolved to win this war and to not forget what happened on 9-11," Fletcher said.
The victims of the terror attacks in 2001 included Edward Thomas Earhart, a Navy weather specialist from Morehead who was killed in the Pentagon attack.
Soldiers from Fort Campbell have played a key role in the war. In addition, about 1,540 Kentucky guardsmen are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, including about 1,200 in Iraq, said Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Donald C. Storm. He said U.S. military personnel are "serving causes of the greater good."
"History will get this right to show that those that stood up are actually bringing hope and opportunity to God's children, that just happen to live in" Afghanistan and Iraq, Storm told reporters after the ceremony.
Storm also provided details about the latest Kentucky National Guard casualty in Iraq. He said Phillips was riding in a military vehicle headed to a traffic control point when a civilian vehicle swerved into its path near the town of Rustamiyah.
The military vehicle took "evasive action," struck a culvert and overturned, he said.
Storm became choked with emotion while paying tribute to Phillips, who is survived by his wife as well as his mother, father and stepfather. Storm said Phillips was "a tremendous young soldier that had just tremendous potential."
Phillips was the 16th Kentucky guardsman killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)