Fort Knox’s main parade field was originally dedicated Dec. 24, 1941 as a memoriam to Pvt. Robert H. Brooks.
In May of this year, Maj. Gen. (Jeff) Smith, commanding general of Cadet Command and Fort Knox, rededicated Brooks Field and gave a moving reminder of the cost our service members are willing to pay for freedom. Pvt. Brooks, an African- American and native Kentuckian became the first battle casualty of the armored force in World War II. It is a place intended to honor the memory of Pvt. Brooks and others who have sacrificed for America.
Many ceremonies have been hosted on Brooks Field since the original dedication. There have been occasions for recruits to begin their service and generals to retire. Brooks Field has been host to ceremonies honoring those who have served in multiple actions including Vietnam and Iraq. Cadets and armor force personnel have had honor courts here. So many have participated in the numerous changes of command on Brooks Field—passing in review, delivering roses and speeches or inspecting troops. All of these are very appropriate for this historic place of military remembrance.
This is why there was surprise to see carnival rides, bouncy houses, beer wagons and port-a-potties littering Brooks Field for Independence Day. In the past, these types of events have been held at locations designed for Family fun or Welcome Home Celebrations. Places like Keyes Park or Thorn Park have trees and parking and places where port-a-potties may be discrete. Even motor pool areas have been host to fairs and fireworks.
Understanding that the Army has changed through the years, I would expect to see changes of weapons, uniforms and locations. The honor/remembrance through memorials—respect for the memorials themselves, is one constant
that should never change.
Please reconsider hosting future activities of this kind on Brooks Field.