A local non-profit has unveiled a new memorial to honor fallen service members from the War on Terror. The traveling memorial is currently on display at McGuire VA Medical Center, and you’re invited to visit as it makes its way around the Metro Richmond area.
It’s a unique display: 28-feet long, with 50 gold stars and nearly 7,000 names etched into dog tags.
“We really wanted to bring back some emphasis for the price of freedom for this country and what it costs to keep us all in one nation flying under one flag,” explained Richmond native and retired Army Ranger James Howard, founder of ‘Veterans and Athletes United.’
The ‘VAU Fallen Heroes Memorial’ was years in the making. It bears the names of sons, daughters, friends and heroes — all service members killed in the War on Terror.
“You can see yourself in the flag, you can read the names, all the dog tags — close to 7000 dog tags — of those who have died in the war on terror,” Howard said. “And sadly, as the war continues, we continue to add the names at the end of the flag.”
“We have a lot of friends on this flag so we always wanted to pay tribute to them and their family members” — James Howard
The fallen heroes memorial will travel around Richmond during August and September. Then, it will hit the road to visit other states, in hopes that friends, family and even strangers will pause to remember the stories behind the names it bears.
“Try to keep it on the road and bring awareness to their sacrifice,” Howard added. “Really has an impact on me every day.”
“I think about these individuals and what it means to be here and to enjoy another day in freedom.”
The memorial will be on display at McGuire VA Medical Center until next Friday. Click here to follow daily updates from the non-profit’s Facebook page.