KDVA Deputy Commissioner Margaret Plattner, LCDR(Ret.)

KDVA Deputy Commissioner Margaret Plattner, LCDR(Ret.) USN to deliver remarks at Memorial Day Observance at The Lexington Cemetery

TUE 19 MAY 2009
CONTACT:  Kim Wade
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The last Monday in May is set aside to remember those men and women who died in military service to their country. Lexington's official observance ceremony will be held at The Lexington National Cemetery, located just inside the front gates of The Lexington Cemetery. The service, which begins at 11 a.m. on MON 25 MAY 2009, will feature remarks by Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Commissioner Margaret Plattner, LCDR(Ret.) USN, the presentation of colors, playing of "Taps," and a 21-gun salute. Participating will be the men and women of American Legion Man O' War Post No. 8 and its Ladies Auxiliary. The public is invited to join The Lexington Cemetery in remembering and saluting those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 


Plattner is an experienced and dedicated public servant and has held leadership positions in state government and the non-profit sector. She served nine years as a lieutenant commander and intelligence analyst in the U.S. Navy Reserves. During the administration of former Gov. Paul Patton, Plattner was deputy commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. She later served as chief executive officer of a non-profit for women's reproductive health in Louisville.

In 1995, Plattner attended the UN World Conference/NGO Forum on Women in Beijing, China, and wrote Women and International Human Rights Law for the University of Kentucky Law Review Summer of 1996. She received her Doctorate of Law from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, a Masters Degree in International Affairs from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, OH.

Raised in Lexington and Northern Kentucky, Plattner is the proud parent of her 10-year-old daughter, Linton, and resides with her in Louisville.

Plattner will assume the position of deputy commissioner March 2009.

The history of The Lexington National Cemetery as a final resting place for war dead dates back to the Civil War.

During the war itself and in its aftermath, The Lexington Cemetery Company maintained a position of neutrality amidst the deep division the war created among Lexington families who had relatives on both sides. Sympathizers of both the Confederacy and the Union owned lots in the cemetery, which chose to honor the commitments of lot owners without regard to politics.  
Land was set aside in 1861 in Section N for "Soldiers' Ground" for the burial of Union dead, with a corresponding Confederate lot for the burial of Southerners who perished in the war. Records indicate that between October 1861 and July 1865, a total of 965 Union soldiers and 102 Confederate soldiers were buried there.  
When the war ended, the cemetery donated the Union lot to the United States government, which purchased an adjoining 16,111 square feet on July 1, 1867. This led to the site being designated as The Lexington National Cemetery. Over the years, soldiers from several other wars were interred until the lots were filled in 1932.  

When the government decided not to purchase additional land, The Lexington Cemetery set aside a lot next to The Lexington National Cemetery and designated it a section for veterans section. Space in this newer section can be purchased for burial of eligible men and women-and lots remain available today for those veterans.  
Memorial Day is an official holiday in all states except Louisiana and is specifically designated to honor those who paid "the ultimate sacrifice" while serving in the armed forces. Congress declared it an official holiday for federal employees in 1971, to be observed annually on the last Monday in May.  
However, Memorial Day observances stretch back to the Civil War. It was during that period that families and organizations began to have annual recognition of Union and Confederate war dead by decorating their graves. The day is still often referred to informally as "Decoration Day."  
There are several places that claim originating the custom of placing flowers (and later flags) on the graves of war dead-among them Waterloo, NY, on May 5, 1866. It was not until after World War I that the custom began to be extended to pay remembrance to deceased relatives and friends, both military and civilian, as well.  
The national observance is marked officially by the placing of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  


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