One hundred sixty-nine sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives. One hundred sixty-nine Kansans and Missourians who volunteered for the military and became heroes. These are the Faces of the Fallen from our neighborhoods.
The 'WALK TO REMEMBER' is a fundraiser. The goal is to provide a Battlefield Cross Memorial to each community in Kansas and Missouri that has lost a son or daughter in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. Funds are raised for a lost soldier when a Gold Star Family requests a memorial.
Families and friends gathered on May 1, 2010 in Weston, Missouri for the 5th annual WALK TO REMEMBER to REMEMBER these 169 men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our liberties, freedoms and way of life.
The parking lot of the Weston City Offices was filled with Gold Star Family members, veterans, active military and patriots.
The opening ceremonies consisted of the presentation of the colors by a military unit from Ft. Leavenworth, a prayer offered by Chap. Gary (Sam) Sanford, (Col Ret) from Leavenworth, the singing of the National Anthem by all in attendance, comments by Patrick Farnan, President of the Colby M. Farnan Foundation and Taps performed by Bugler Jim Timmons (USN Ret) from Lansing.
Patrick Farnan recognized members of the following Gold Star Families in attendance: Army Spc. Colby M. Farnan, Army Spc. Edward L. Myers, Army Cpl. David M. Unger, Army Pfc. Matthew M. Murchison, Marine 1st Lt. Ryan Michael Jackman, Army Pvt. Jeremy L. Drexler, Army Sgt. Jacob L. Butler, Army Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury, Army Pfc. Shane R. Austin, Army Spc. David J. Lane, Army Spc. Evan Parker, Army Spc. Ronald A. Schmidt, Army Spc. Kyle Thomas, Army Cpl. Benjamin J. Ashley, Army Chief Warrant Officer Matthew G. Kelly, Army Sgt. Issac B. Jackson, Navy ET1 Ronald Hemenway 9/11 casualty at the Pentagon. Patrick thanked several organizations for their contributions including Ferrell Gas who committed to buy three Battlefield Cross Memorials. Ferrell Gas was also represented by twenty nine employees who raised $1000.00 Other donations that were acknowledged: Gold Star Mother’s who donated $2800.00, American Legion Post 370, Overland Park, KS and the Iron Order Motorcycle Club of Kansas City.
The Patriot Guard was responsible for setting up flag lines for the entrance to the WALK TO REMEMBER and at the Battlefield Cross memorial for Spc. Colby M. Farnan at MO 45 and Library Drive. Mounted posters contained pictures and personal notes about each of the one hundred, sixty-nine heroes honored by the WALK TO REMEMBER gave walkers a brief glimpse at who these heroes were in their community. Decorating each marker was an American flag and a candle. The trail (approximately 4K) had the memorials on the right side of the trail. As walkers passed through the isle of flags and proceed up a hill to start the trail, they found the poem “THE YOUNG DEAD SOLDIERS DO NOT SPEAK” by Archibald MacLeish, next to a Battlefield Cross Memorial.
An estimated seventy-five motorcycles arrived prior to the opening ceremonies. The riders had gathered at Liberty Cycle Center in Liberty, MO and was provided escort by the Liberty Police Department, Clay County Sheriff’s Department, Platte County Sheriff’s Department, Tracy Police Department and Weston Police Department. Thank you to all the law enforcement agencies and personnel that participated in making this a safe ride.
Thank you to lead road Captain Dennis Walden and Lead Road Captain Bob Ford for their leadership. Thank you also to Road Captains: Gary Baker (law enforcement coordinator), Ken Breedlove, Tom Countryman, Darrell Curfman, Betty Ford, Lehman Heaviland, Terry Hummel, Ron Maki and Ron Roberts.
Honorary Road Captain and Gold Star Father Patrick Farnan also joined the ride.
THE YOUNG DEAD SOLDIERS DO NOT SPEAK.
The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless they are heard in the still house.
Who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say “We were young,
We have died.
They say “We have given our lives
but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.”
They say “Our deaths are not ours.
They are yours.
They will mean what you make them.”
They way “Whether our lives and our deaths
were for peace and a new hope
or for nothing, we cannot say.”
IT IS YOU WHO MUST SAY THIS.
They say “We leave you our deaths.
Give them their meaning.
Give them an end to the war and a true peace.
Give them a victory that ends the war,
And a peace afterwards.
Give them their meaning.”
“WE WERE YOUNG.”, they say.
“WE HAVE DIED.”
Photos: Mary Curfman