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Saluting those who serve

Scott Walters at 35,000 feet on the way to the Final Four

Scott Walters at 35,000 feet on the way to the Final Four

Scott Walters at 35,000 feet on the way to the Final Four

Contrary to what your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds may suggest, Memorial Day isn’t only about cookouts, pool parties, and booze. It’s about the men and women who serve our country that make all of those fun things possible. In the BBN, those sacrifices are particularly poignant during events like the Final Four, when the word “homesick” is surely an understatement.

Earlier today on Twitter, I asked servicemen and women to share their stories and pictures from following UK’s big tournament run abroad. I got some pretty awesome responses…


Matt Mowery in front of the Persian Gulf in Kuwait City, Kuwait

Matt Mowery writes that he just got back from a nine month deployment in Egypt. His unit is from Fort Hood, Texas, so he only had about four or five die-hard native Kentuckians with him, but they watched all the games via the Armed Forces Network (AFN) or online streams. He was also in Korea during the 2012 title run, and because of the time difference (13 hours ahead in Korea; 7 hours in Egypt), changed his sleeping habits or asked to miss some work because of games. During each run, Matt said listening to the Lexington police scanner stream was a must.


Judy Priddy sent in this picture of her nephew JT, and his wife, Misty, who are currently serving in Okinawa, Japan.

Josh Fetherland is also stationed in Okinawa and says UK’s tournament games made for some very early mornings for him (the Wichita State game was on at 5 a.m. his time), but he always changed his work schedule to watch online or on the AFN.


Kirsten and family in Amsterdam

Kirsten writes that she and her family were in Italy during the run and had to listen to the games on the radio, which made for an amazing experience.


Russell LeMay sporting a UK hat and wig in Afghanistan.

Then, of course, there are those who gave their lives for our freedom, like second lieutenant Jeffrey Graham, a 2003 UK graduate who was killed in Iraq back in 2004:


Never forget.

I’m sure there are so many more stories, and I encourage you to share them in the comments.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

15 Comments for Saluting those who serve

  1. Bluegrassrebel
    10:07 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    H/T to my nephew, fellow UKGrad, and avid follower of KSR and BBN, 1st Lt Ben Skaggs, serving in Afghanistan as a Blackhawk pilot. Love ya, dude hurry home safe, just in time to chase #9!!

  2. Rememberer
    10:12 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    “It’s about the men and women who serve our country…”.

    “Then, of course, there are those who gave their lives for our freedom…”

    Sorry, Tyler. You blew this one. Big time. Veterans Day in November is about the men and women who serve. This one is MEMORIAL Day. As in, honoring those who died in service to their country. Not every veteran. Our fallen soldiers are not an afterthought on this day. They are the reason it exists.

    • What's in a Name?
      10:16 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

      Good call. I posted roughly the same thing. BTI had the right ide earlie today wen he wrote of the UK players who had fallen in battle. That was a great post. This is a dilution of the purpose of the holiday.

    • Megan
      2:21 pm May 27, 2014 Permalink

      Agree entirely. But it’s awkward to make the point when someone chooses this holiday to remember a veteran who didn’t die in battle. No one means to diminish any veteran’s service. But there is a time to remember those who gave their lives, and that time is now. Others who served in combat and survived, or who served in peacetime or in non-combat positions, are well honored — I would argue better honored — during Veterans Day and the many other events, sporting events, for example, that thank them for their service.

      Memorial Day is for a very special subset of veterans. It’s a sacred observance that should not be diminished in the least by any confusion or misunderstanding of what the holiday is meant to represent.

  3. TANK
    10:12 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    Shout out Russell LeMay that’s my homeboy dirty south DCP.

  4. What's in a Name?
    10:14 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    I wonder if this post wouldn’t be more fitting on either the Fourth of July or, more likely, Veterans Day. I’m not sure if you got the memo, but Memorial Day is a holiday to honor those who have fallen in battle. Veterans’ Day and Armed Services Day are the holidays designated for showing our appreciation of those who are still with us.

  5. jq
    10:38 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    I listened to UK and Texas Western on Armed Forces Radio on a transitor radio in a “fox hole” in Nam!

    Yes I am older than YOU KIDS!

  6. Moonshine nate
    10:49 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    To say that our boys, and girls fight for our freedom in these times is a illusion. Name the last war that had to do with our freedom as the United States? They fight for political bullshit, or as you would say ” a pissing contest “. God bless the men, and women that put their lives on the line for this crap!

  7. Rememberer
    11:14 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    I am going to say this as gently as possible; please accept it in the spirit that it is offered.

    Please do not thank a veteran this weekend. We have our day in November. This weekend is for our friends, our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the cause of freedom.

    When you thank us, as sincere as it is, it reminds us that we came home, while they did not. Somehow, for us, it lessens the solemnity of the day and heightens our survivor guilt.

    We appreciate your gratitude. We are embarrassed by it, but we appreciate it. But please, please, this weekend, remember it is not about service, it is about sacrifice.

    And while willing, we did not make that sacrifice. . .
    -Dr. Jim Higgins, Major, US Army.

    • Spirit of Trth
      11:36 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink


  8. Ridge Runner
    4:22 am May 27, 2014 Permalink

    Great post, Tyler!

    • NCAA
      9:05 am May 27, 2014 Permalink

      Even if you didn’t understand what Memorial Day was all about…

  9. DT in DC
    6:28 am May 27, 2014 Permalink

    I guess the people above missed the part about Lt. Graham. Thank you for reminding us about one of our own to paid the ultimate price. Rest in peace, Lt., we have the watch.


    • Rememberer
      6:49 am May 27, 2014 Permalink

      No. I didn’t miss it. As I said in my original post, those who list their lives are not an afterthought to be tagged onto a column thanking veterans on MEMORIAL Day. The emphasis should have been reversed. And this post explicitly misstates the purpose of the day.

  10. BCB
    8:34 am May 27, 2014 Permalink

    I was very good friends with Lt. Graham. BBN lost one of their biggest fans when he passed. I was blessed enough to give his eulogy as a voice of the friends he left behind. He will always be my hero, as are all others who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.