In 2000, Rebecca Jackson, then Jefferson County Judge/Executive, appointed a committee of local retired and former military personnel, as well as family members of the local United States military personnel, to visualize, conceive, fund, and erect a suitable memorial honoring fallen patriots. With the generous financial support of David and Betty Jones, as well as numerous local foundations, corporations, veterans’ organizations, families, friends, and patriotic citizens, the dream became a reality on Veterans Day, November 11, 2002.

Ever mindful that military readiness is a dangerous endeavor, fallen patriots continue to be enshrined each year during a solemn ceremony on Memorial Day. As a name is added, a brick is removed and replaced with a personalized etched glass identifying each patriot, signifying our loss. This void in an otherwise solid wall becomes a portal of light transforming the interior by day and radiating outward at night through each name as a reminder to celebrate daily the joy of freedom purchased and safeguarded by these brave men and women.

Photo courtesy of David D. Quillin Architecture

Despite its unique design incorporating an etched relief of an American flag on its north wall, the memorial lacked an actual American flag flying in silent tribute to those enshrined therein. The Patriots Peace Memorial Committee chose to approach the families and friends of those enshrined for individual donations, no matter how large or small, in an effort to give them an opportunity to honor their own sons and daughters in a very meaningful and visible manner. The response was most gratifying. On Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, as we gathered to recognize those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the defense of this nation, we together solemnly raised an American flag as an enduring tribute to those we honor.

It is our hope, that as our fellow citizens pass this beautiful site, they will see Old Glory flying proudly in the Ohio River breeze and reflect on the sacrifice made by these brave patriots. May this universally recognized symbol of freedom and courage add dignity and respect to this truly unique memorial and may we all feel a sense of genuine national pride for those whose memories we honor.

The Patriots Peace Memorial honors servicemen and servicewomen who walk constantly in harm’s way and who died while on active duty, but not in combat. It offers a quiet place for grieving families and friends to remember these fallen heroes.
— David and Betty Jones

Groundbreaking and Dedication Ceremonies

Throughout the United States, many organizations and communities have constructed memorials in honor of those who have given their lives in the defense of our nation, during declared wars or other adversarial conflicts. Sadly, little has been done to memorialize those brave members of our armed forces, who have died while serving their nation in the line of duty, under conditions other than declared hostile actions. The September 11 (2001) attacks bring to attention the need we have to remember those who died for their country in peacetime.

Active duty, reserve, and retired military personnel from all branches of our armed forces, as well as National Guard components, have joined together under the leadership of Jefferson County Judge/Executive Rebecca Jackson and David Jones, Chairman of the Board, Humana, Inc., to dedicate a memorial to those forgotten patriots who have died, while serving in our armed forces. It is important that we recognize their sacrifice, through the dedication of this unique and significant memorial, which will stand as a tribute to their service.  

“Many of us have loved ones who have given their lives in the line of duty to keep America’s defense strong in time of peace. This edifice will serve as a lasting memorial to the ultimate sacrifice made by these individuals. Our community thanks these, our sons and daughters, who left us to serve and returned no more.”
Rebecca Jackson, Jefferson County Judge/Executive

“We lost our son, Brice, during a training mission in Misawa, Japan. His U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed during takeoff. Brice and others like him suffered and died and he is no longer with us. We will never hear his voice, touch his face, feel his hug, experience his joys, feel his pain or laugh with his children. He is gone forever. The suffering that we as parents, family and friends endure is also just as deep as those who lost loved ones in battle. Honoring Brice and the many others like him with this memorial will demonstrate that we as a people understand the sacrifice and remember those who gave their all.”
Charlie and Nancy Simpson

“Patriotism is not necessarily a quality tempered in the heat of combat. Rather, it is a flame that burns intensely in the heart of every citizen who stands ready to give his or her all for the cause of freedom. This monument will stand as a candle in remembrance of those who have served – yet whose flame was extinguished before they were called upon to demonstrate their professionalism under fire. It is time to honor their commitment.”
Major Allen D. Broussard, USMC (Ret)
Chairperson, Patriots Peace Memorial

Rebecca Jackson during Memorial groundbreaking ceremony on May 17, 2002
Rebecca Jackson with committee during the dedication of the Memorial on November 11, 2002.

Restoration Project

In 2016 an extensive restoration of the Memorial was completed. A redesign and replacement of all glass plates were completed. Several areas of concern were also addressed as well as general cleaning and updating of the facility. The Patriots Peace Memorial Board would like to thank all the individuals and organizations who made this endeavor possible.

Nancy J. Simpson Bench Dedication

On July 16, 2013, a ceremony was held to dedicate a bench in memory of Nancy J. Simpson, a founding member. Nancy and Charles Simpson lost their son, Lt. M. Brice Simpson, USAF, the inspiration for our Memorial, in an aircraft training accident in Japan. See the gallery for the dedication.

David A. Jones & Betty A. Jones Tree Dedication

During 2020, a tulip poplar tree was planted on the grounds of the Patriots Peace Memorial in grateful appreciation of David and Betty Jones, long-time benefactors. Due to COVID-19 mitigation, formal dedication of the tree, with the ceremonial unveiling of a granite and bronze marker, was delayed until Memorial Day 2021. See more information below and view the gallery for the dedication.

David A. Jones, Sr. & Betty Lee Asbury Jones

In Memoriam
Dedication of Jones Memorial Tree
Patriots Peace Memorial
Memorial Day
May 31, 2021

Excerpts from Remarks of Ed Armento

With the passing of David and Betty Jones, during 2019, the Patriots Peace Memorial Committee struggled to find an appropriate manner in which to memorialize the central role they both played in the conception and construction of this unique memorial. From its very inception, David and Betty Jones blessed the Patriots Peace Memorial with their guidance, vision, encouragement and financial support, as our community grappled with how best to remember those military personnel from within our region, who had died in the line of duty, but not under combat conditions. Embracing the concept and deeply moved by the emotional appeal of a grieving mother, whose son had perished in a military aircraft training accident, David and Betty Jones championed the cause and the Patriots Peace Memorial became a reality on Veterans Day 2002. 

From the initial grant of land the memorial stands on today, to the international architectural competition, construction management and funding, all personally supported or influenced by David Jones and many of his friends, both personal and corporate, our Louisville area community responded and was able to construct this symbolic “Portal of Light” to ensure that the sacrifices of military personnel from throughout our region would not be forgotten for generations to come. Through his own military service with the United States Navy, David Jones was acutely aware of the many dangers posed by military training operations at sea, in the air and on the ground.  

For those of us who had the pleasure of personally knowing David and Betty Jones, their humility and reluctance for public recognition only magnified the enormity of their benevolence, not only in support of our military, but for many worthy causes within our community, too numerous to mention. 

When a decision was made to honor the memories of David and Betty Jones on these very grounds, a tulip poplar tree, known to many Kentuckians as our official State Tree, was chosen for its magnificent shape and rapid growth, in the hope that it will one day symbolically tower over the Patriots Peace Memorial, much in the same way that David and Betty Jones did so during their long and productive lives.  

In order that future generations may reflect on the impact that David and Betty Jones had, not only on the construction of this memorial, but also on its perpetuation, a granite and bronze marker has been placed near the base of this tree, expressing our unending gratitude, with the inscription: 

Dedicated in Grateful Memory
David A. Jones + Betty A. Jones
Compassionate Benevolence
Patriots Peace Memorial Committee