LEXINGTON, Ky. –
The spring meet kicked off at Keeneland Race Track and they opened their doors to all military members and their families, as well as veterans during their Military Day Apr. 16.
In the middle of it all was the Kentucky National Guard’s 202nd Army Band. The five Soldiers were on hand in the center of the walking ring near the entrance to the racetrack playing for the attendees when the gates opened before the races kicked off.
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Army Sgt. Brittny Kempfer, a vocalist in the 202nd, kicked off the race day by singing the National Anthem. Although this wasn’t her first time doing something like this, she was excited to be able to be a part of this day.
“It’s really awesome, I love singing the National Anthem,” said Kempfer. “I take it very serious and getting to sing on one of the bigger stages is great.”
Kempfer went on to say that she has had the opportunity to sing at several other sporting events including the University of Kentucky men’s basketball games and at an Atlanta Braves baseball game.
Coming together with the community at events like this is important in building relationships and letting them see who their Guard members are.
“One of our biggest missions is to be out in the community and make those connections with the community,” said Kempfer. “So being able to be here for their Military Appreciation Day means a lot, especially when we get to meet veterans like Master Sgt. Vergara. Meeting him was really awesome.”
Master Sgt. Andy Vergara was one of the five World War II veterans present and available for folks to meet. All the men were 100 years-old or turning 100 very soon.
Also in attendance from the Kentucky Guard was Army Brig. Gen. Brian Wertzler, the assistant Adjutant General for Kentucky.
The Marines provided the color guard that presented the American Flag during the National Anthem.
There was also a wreath set up in remembrance of the nine Soldiers that were killed when their HH60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed during training near Fort Campbell, Kentucky on March 29, 2023.
A meal was provided for the military members that was provided by the Lexington Marriot Griffin Gate and the children’s activity area was hosted by family programs.