In 1936 New York advertising agency owner Colonel Arthur Kudner, whose clients included General Motors and the Florida Citrus Commission, penned a tribute to the Kentucky Colonel. His “Toast” was quickly adopted by the then young Honorable Order and was widely published. It also was very ceremoniously presented at each of the Kentucky Colonels’ Derby Eve Banquets. An account from 1946 said, “The well-dressed audience is touched at the reading of this tribute to its nobility and the eyes mist and a lump comes to the throat”. The report also said that during the silence following the presentation someone was heard to say “What the hell is a plangent world?” (Basically, plangent means loud.)
Still today, Headquarters receives multiple requests for copies of the toast. Today’s version has been edited to make it less gender specific but here is the original:
I give you a man dedicated to the good things of life, to the gentle, the heartfelt things, to good living, and to the kindly rites with which it is surrounded. In all the clash of a plangent world he holds firm to his ideal – a gracious existence in that country of content “where slower clocks strike happier hours.” He stands in spirit on a tall-columned veranda, a hospitable glass in his hand, and he looks over the good and fertile earth, over ripening fields, over meadows of rippling bluegrass. The rounded note of a horn floats through the fragrant stillness. Afar, the sleek and shining flanks of a thoroughbred catch the bright sun. The broad door, open wide with welcome… the slow, soft-spoken word… the familiar step of friendship… all of this is his life and it is good. He brings fair judgment to sterner things. He is proud in the traditions of his country, in ways that are settled and true. In a trying world darkened by hate and misunderstanding, he is a symbol of those virtues in which men find gallant faith and of the good men might distill from life. Here he stands, then. In the finest sense, an epicure… a patriot… a man. Gentlemen, I give you, the Kentucky Colonel.