BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - It was Veterans Appreciation Day Saturday at the Independence County Fair honoring those that have served, and displaying the Traveling Flag Memorial recognizing Arkansas soldiers who lost their lives since 9-11. Now they're wanting to make the memorial a more permanent vigil.
The Traveling Memorial was established about five years ago and Saturday it made its way to Batesville. It's was a remembrance ceremony close to the hearts of many, and a memorial keeping Arkansas fallen heroes alive.
"There were 109 names faces out here that were reminded of once again as people walked through," says memorial founder Rob Hopper. 109 fallen soldiers lives have been lost, ten more faces than just a year ago. "We placed those flags in their memorials, and if their family members were here they were able to place their flag into the memorial," says Charles Jordan with the Independence County Fair.
"It was an honor...it was an honor for me to do that for Chris," says Kurt Yauch, who lost his son Chris Yauch this past June. "All of these people sacrificed their life for this country and they shouldn't be forgotten," he says.
It was ceremony that brought tears to many as veterans and those that have passed were recognized for their sacrifice. "Both my sons were serving in Iraq at the same time and the same place and my oldest son escorted his little brother home," says Hopper, who lost his son back in 2005. His lost is what inspired him to start the Traveling Memorial.
"Our goal is to make a permanent memorial with pictures just like this. A walk through memorial with their faces," says Hopper. The project is being funded by donations, and at each location a bucket is placed in front of the memorial. "We've raised 40 thousand dollars so far in five years, and it's probably go to take 100 thousand to build the memorial," he explains.
A memorial that is means a lot to Chris Yauch's wife Mallory, "It's comforting to know that he will always be remember and he was doing something that he loved and he was great at and it cost him his life but he'll never be forgotten and that's just heart-warming," says Mallory Yauch.
The permanent vigil will be located in Jacksonville at the Military Museum in the central part of the state.
For information on how you can donate just email Rob Hopper at Arkansasfallenhero@yahoo.com.