GREENFIELD — Memorial Day — observed on the last Monday of May each year — is dedicated to honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
A special exhibit honoring those who made “the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Terror” is coming to the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield just in time for the holiday.
The public is encouraged to visit the “Faces of our Fallen” memorial over the next six days at the library, starting with a public ceremony at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 25.
The exhibit will be on display in the library’s GBC Community Room May 25-30, and will later appear at the Indiana State Fair Aug. 2-11.
The photographic war memorial features both military and personal photos honoring U.S. military members who lost their lives for their country since the War on Terror commenced Sept. 11, 2001.
According to Alan Janney, a disabled veteran outreach program specialist who lives in Henry County, the memorial features a number of veterans who lived within the doughnut counties surrounding Indianapolis, including Matthew Ammerman, Robert Colvill Jr., Brian Hazelgrove, Paul Heltzel, Brian Miller, Marcus Muralles, Joseph Proctor, Matthew “Matt” Smith, Joseph “Joey” Strong, Donte’ Whitworth and Jeremy Wright.
“Faces of our Fallen” was created by Bill and Evonne Williams, who wished to honor the memory of those who died in the War on Terror, provide comfort to their friends and family and teach others about those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The couple set out to honor the memory of those like their son, who died in Iraq. With the backing of the “Omaha World-Herald” newspaper and financial support of several sponsors, including Bellevue University, the Williamses created the traveling photo memorial in November 2010.
The exhibit originally featured only veterans who had called Nebraska home, but more state memorials were added over the years. The Williamses collaborated with Easterseals Crossroads Veteran Services to create an Indiana memorial in 2015.
After completing 19 state memorials, the focus shifted to one national memorial to honor veterans from across the country. This national memorial was unveiled in September 2017 at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., and continues to tour the nation.
This year marks the first time the national exhibit has been in Indiana.
“Our hope for the Indiana exhibit is that people will never take their freedom for granted and know that they are being protected at all costs,” said Buzz Smith, who manages the Indiana exhibit.
“Hoosiers should feel safer knowing that there are many more of these heroes all around the world that have given up everything so that we can feel safe at home,” said Smith, a Veteran Resource Navigator for Easterseals Crossroads.
Easterseals Crossroads serves and advocates for people with disabilities and their families, and provides a number of services focused on U.S. military veterans.
The organization sponsors the Indiana portion of the “Faces of the Fallen” exhibit, with support from local sponsors.
Greenfield WorkOne will present the exhibit coming to the Hancock County Public Library.