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Traveling veterans memorial to make stop in Victoria this week

By JR Ortega
April 11, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2011 at 11:11 p.m.


IF YOU GO

WHAT: Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial

WHEN: Wednesday through Saturday, during regular mall hours

WHERE: Victoria Mall Center Court, near the women's Dillard's, 7802 N. Navarro St.

Chapter 3077 will also be selling books about local members who were wounded in World War II, Korea and Vietnam wars for $10. Those who donate will receive a pin.

For more information: Call Don Williams at 361-648-8221.



AREA SOLDIERS KILLED IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN:

September 2003: U.S. Spec. Richard Arriaga, 20, of Ganado in Iraq.

April 2005: U.S. Army Spec. Gary Walters, 31, of Victoria in Iraq.

November 2005: U.S. Marine Cpl. John M. Longoria, 21, of Nixon in Iraq.

April 2006: U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Andres "AJ" Aguilar Jr., 21, of Victoria in Iraq.

November 2006: U.S. Army Sgt. Mitchel Mutz, 23, of Falls City in Iraq.

April 2008: Army Specialist David McCormick of Bay City in Iraq.

October 2009: Sgt. Anthony Gabriel "Gabe" Green, 28, of Yorktown in Afghanistan.

July 2010: U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Creighton, 23, of Cuero in Afghanistan.

Freedom will ring at the Victoria Mall in April, at least that's Don Williams' goal.

Williams, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 3077 in Victoria, has been working to bring the Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial to Victoria.

The memorial contains 527 photos and names of Texas veterans who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

"It's to let the community know that we support our troops and what they're doing and that we stand behind them," he said.

The traveling memorial will be at the mall from Wednesday through Saturday. Members of the crew who set up the panels have sons on that panel, Williams said.

Cornell Green lost his son, Sgt. Anthony Gabriel "Gabe" Green, of Yorktown. A Texas Army National Guardsman, Green was killed in action by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in October 2009.

Having memorials like the Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial helps keep the public informed of a soldier's duty, he said.

Still, reminders reopen the wounds that the soldier is no longer alive, he added.

"There needs to be an awareness," he said. "The service doesn't end when these kids come home."

The Green family have been taking the loss day by day. Some days are good and some days are bad, and in the end, it's always going to be that way, Green said.

"I'd love to forget about my son in some ways to ease the pains," he said.

This traveling memorial is all about that, Williams said.

Bringing this memorial to Victoria for the first time is something that goes along with other veteran events in the community, like Warrior's Weekend, he said.

In the end, it's about helping out, Williams said.

"We're veterans helping veterans," he said.

The local chapter has helped 3,500 veterans file their claims and receive disability and benefits.

The memorial and this effort is all part of helping out, he said.

"It's a great feeling knowing that you've helped another veteran get what he's deserved," he said.

But for the 527 pictures on the memorial, all that can be done is to pay respect, he added.

"I think it will catch a lot of attention," he said. "People can get to see the price of freedom."

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