Traveling national tribute honors ‘the Fallen’

On Sept. 7 at the edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington D.C., more than 30 “Tribute Towers” were first unveiled.

The national “Remembering Our Fallen” traveling memorial currently on display at the Ronald Reagan Museum will travel to the Captain Joseph House, founded by Gold Star Mother, Betsy Schultz, as the country’s only Family to Family program extending the continuum of care to Gold Star Veteran Families.

Visitors to Captain Joseph House from Dec. 8-11 will have a chance to view the photographic war memorial exhibit with more than 5,000 U.S. service-members who have died in combat since 9/11 in the Global War on Terrorism.

The double-sided, 10-foot-by-5-foot weather-resistant banners feature military and civilian photos of each of the fallen heroes, with information about who they were and when they died.

“It will be an emotional project as we assemble the towers,” Schultz said. “There’s a family attached to each and every one of the photographs. These Gold Star Families will visit for a week-long respite at the House once the remodel is complete, giving each person and child the chance to connect on a more personal level in a home-away-from-home setting. To honor our Fallen is to live each day to the fullest.”

The towers will be set-up in front of Captain Joseph House, on South Oak Street between West 11th Street and the alley on the south of the property.

This one-of-a-kind outdoor exhibit will remain open for viewing 24 hours over all four days.

Opening ceremonies are set for 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. There is no cost to the public to attend.

About ‘Remembering Our Fallen’

The “Tribute Towers” began as the brainchild of Bill and Evonne Williams of Nebraska. The couple saw a story in a newspaper in 2010 about a Gold Star Father whose son, Sgt. Joshua Ford, had died in action in 2006 while serving in Iraq.

The father’s pain and grief was even greater four years later because he felt that his son had been forgotten, and the war was not even over yet.

The Williams’ first memorial was for the “fallen” that called Nebraska their home. After realizing the impact this first photo display had upon the general public, the Williamses agreed the project should be completed in other states to remind people of the cost of freedom while helping to lessen the grief of the families.

After completing 19 state memorials, the focus shifted to one national memorial.

The Williams contacted Betsy Schultz on Aug. 30 after reading about Captain Joseph House Foundation and its mission. The opportunity to display the “Tribute Towers” at Captain Joseph House that would welcome Gold Star Veteran Families when completed forged a connection between the Williams and Schultz.

The exhibit dates include a Friday and Monday so area schools can schedule field trips and a weekend to encourage families from outside the immediate area to visit.

Following the Port Angeles exhibit, the memorial travels to California for a Dec. 29-Jan. 1 display at the Paseo Colorado Mall in Pasadena.

About the foundation

The Captain Joseph House Foundation was founded by a Gold Star Mom Betsy Schultz as the country’s first Gold Star Veteran Family-to-Family program that gives families of The Fallen the chance to connect on a personal level in a home-away-from-home setting.

Families come from all corners of the country and from all branches of the military, but are navigating the same painful journey following the loss of their loved one. Captain Joseph House allows the families to celebrate the life of their heroes by finding purpose in living.

Captain Joseph House provides a week-long, all-expense paid respite (including airfare) for three Gold Star Veteran Families at a time, for a total of 16 family members. This respite is available every week, 11 months of the year, and provides an opportunity for each Family to be together without the stress that each day brings trying to go it alone.

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