“Remembering Our Fallen – The warriors of the 21st Century, professionals who volunteered to join the United States Armed Forces, grew up in the shadow of September 11, 2001, a defining moment for most of them. They come from all walks of life and every corner of our country, daring to go where so many never would. They retain the face of freedom and build upon the legacies of those who went before them in a cause greater than themselves.” Pictured above: American VFW Post 180 commander Lonnie Jacobitz views the traveling Remembering Our Fallen exhibit currently on display in the Thayer County Health Service’s main lobby.
Remembering Our Fallen, an exhibit honoring 98 American soldiers from Nebraska and western Iowa who were killed in the Iraq and Afghan wars, will be on display at the Thayer County hospital until Saturday, Feb. 4. The exhibit was created by Strategic Air & Space Museum in partnership with the Omaha World-Herald.
Last Saturday, Jan. 29, an opening ceremony took place with the posting of the colors by American Legion Post 180, the National Anthem performed by Thayer Central senior Kesston Fink, an invocation given by Pastor Mark Baldwin, and an oration given by U.S. military veteran Kathy Retzlaff. Retzlaff has served in both Vietnam and Afghanistan during war time.
Interim director of the Strategic Air and Space Museum, Evonne Williams, said at the unveiling of the exhibit in January, keeping the names and faces alive in the public memory is the motivation behind creating the exhibit, and that she got the idea after reading a newspaper report about a Nebraska father who had lost his son in Iraq. Williams and her husband, Bill, are the same two individuals who spearheaded the “Honor Flights” program transporting World War II veterans from Nebraska to Washington D.C. to view the National WWII Memorial.
The display travels to Papillion next then on to Iowa, but returns to the local area Feb. 19-27 at the Homestead Museum in Beatrice. Afterward, the exhibit will not return to the area until June 30 when it will be displayed in Geneva. For a complete list of its 2011 tour, visit www.sacmuseum.org and click on the “Fallen” prompt at the bottom of the page.
The exhibit will visit 33 communities over the next 12 months. There will be a closing ceremony here at 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4, as the exhibit is moved to its next destination.