Traveling Flag Memorial

Jonesboro (KAIT)- A unique memorial honoring fallen soldiers enabled people to put a face with a name.

More than a name on a wall or a flag in the breeze, this Traveling Flag Monument has a picture of the man or woman who bravely fought and died for this country.

Rob Hopper, organizer of this monument, says that while it is a sad thing, these people need to be remembered.  He says that most times people just get the name, not the faces to go along with it. He along with his son Patrick, thought of this special memorial after losing their son and brother Lance Corporal Brian Chase Hopper.  Brian was killed in Iraq in 2005.  After his death Rob had a motorcyle ride in honor of his son.  Soon after, he and Patrick, who also served in Iraq, wanted to not only honor Brian, but others as well.  They soon formed the Arkansas Fallen Soldiers Memorial.

On Sunday, people came to the VFW in Jonesboro to witness this memorial, and to pay tribute to the latest fallen soldiers from Arkansas.  Mayor Harrold Perrin opened the special  ceremony with a speech in which he told the audience he once wore the uniform, he knows why they're here.  He asked for them to think about the soldiers and their families in their prayers.

The Craighead County Veterans Honor Guard assisted in the ceremony by placing flags to honor the two new additions to the monument: one for Army 1st Sergeant Blue C. Rowe and the other was for Army Sergeant Paul F. Brooks.  These flags joined 96 other flags; one for each officer who has died  since the September 11 attacks.  All together there are 98 flags--97 men and one female.  TAPS was played as people saluted the flag.

This monument will continue to be at the VFW until next Monday, June 15.  Everyone is encouraged to come by.  It is open to the public 24 hours a day.

The Traveling Flag Memorial has traveled all over the state of Arkansas.  Hopper hopes to make a permanent residence at the Military Museum in Jacksonville, Arkansas.  There will be a motorcycle ride in October in North Little Rock to aid in raisng funds for this endeavor.

Many who view this monument will take back not only a story, but the face to go along with that story.

Rebecca Lane (KAIT)