RICHMOND, Va. -- The Fallen Heroes Memorial, which was the dream of a Chesterfield County Iraq War veteran, is now on display in Richmond at several locations.
The 28 x 6 foot American flag, which was funded and built by veterans and volunteer groups, symbolizes the shape of the flag when draped on a fallen service member's casket, according to officials with the non-profit Veterans and Athletes United (VAU).
"It is designed out of close to 7,000 dog tags with all the names of those who have fallen in the War on Terror," James Howard, who founded VAU, said. "Fifty gold stars are placed on the flag to honor and recognize gold star families from all 50 states. Displayed in front of the flag is a battle field cross sculpted from mahogany wood by veteran artist Alicia Dietz."
The memorial will be on display at the following locations in Richmond:
- Aug. 9-16: Hunter Holmes McGuire VA. (Located in the main building near south mall windows.) 1201 Broad Rock Boulevard in Richmond
- Sept. 8: Travis Manion 9/11 Heroes Run -- 1000 Semmes Avenue in Richmond
- Sept. 10-12: Virginia War Memorial -- located at 621 S Belvidere Street in Richmond
Howard said veterans, active duty volunteers and various members of the community, including a 3-year-old girl, a Boy Scout working on his eagle badge and in-kind material donations, helped make the powerful display a reality.
“It speaks for itself. When you see it, it's large and it's powerful," Howard told WTVR CBS 6 anchor and reporter Greg McQuade in July of 2018.
The names of the fallen are etched in dog tags, including three of Howard's friends.
“There's that quote, you die twice in this world. The first time physically when you pass away and then the last time when someone speaks your name," Howard told McQuade. "So we hope these names will never be forgotten for the rest of our lives.”
The Fallen Heroes Memorial has been on display at various locations across the country.
"We encourage many visitors to come see this powerful display and reflect on the heavy price paid for our freedom," Howard said.