Monett will host a very special pictorial exhibit, "Remembering Our Fallen from Missouri," at the Southwest Missouri Area Career Center (SWACC), located at 2 David Sippy Drive in Monett. The exhibit, which contains photos of Missouri soldiers who died in the War on Terror, will be on display from Thursday, March 22 through Sunday, March 25.
A special remembrance ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 24. First Sgt. John Marbut, the event organizer, said special guests, including Gold Star Mother Teresa Stark, whose son, Army Specialist Christopher Stark, was killed in action on Feb. 28, 2011, in Afghanistan, will be in attendance.
Growing up in an era that included Sept. 11, 2001, many of today's professional soldiers's lives were defined by living through those horrific moments during the four coordinated attacks on America. Due to those attacks, many young men and women joined one of the nation's five branches of military: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Department of Defense.
Once called into action, many completed their tours of duty, but over 6,300 military personnel across the nation did not.
"Remembering Our Fallen" is a project of Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb., and was created to honor those who died in the nation's War on Terror.
Project coordinators, Bill and Evonne Williams, of Omaha, Neb., realized the impact the first photo display made upon not only the families of the fallen, but also the general public, and felt that the project should include other states. The display now encompasses the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Arizona, Colorado and Missouri. They hope to remind people of the cost of freedom and help to lessen the grief of the families.
"This is as important as the Vietnam Wall for people in this area," Marbut said. "This is a very moving display."
Marbut said there were 18 soldiers included in the display who lived in the area east and west of Monett from Springfield to Joplin and north and south from Miller to Cassville.
"We have included all but the most recent local deaths in the War on Terror," Marbut said. "We have their names in the notebook, but haven't had time to include them in the display."
The website containing the names and photos of Missouri's fallen young soldiers is updated daily.
The display will travel from the Missouri state line to SWACC with Missouri Highway Patrolman Gary Horton providing an escort and will be under 24-hour guard for the duration of its stay in Monett.
Other escorts include members of the Patriot Guard, a motorcycle organization dedicated to attending the funerals and honoring fallen members of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as firefighters and police officers.
The event is sponsored by SWACC and the Junior ROTC.
For more information, contact Marbut at 417-235-7022.