Display honors fallen Iowa soldiers in War on Terror

Posted June 1, 2011 at 5:00 am


S-Rolfes,henrich.psd

by Steve Peterson

Kyle Dunkers of Remsen stopped by the “Remembering Our Fallen” display, a collection of military photographs and family photographs of those from Iowa who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It is great that they have it here. My brother Cody is serving over there. It’s neat to see,” said Dunkers.

“It is important to pay tribute. Plus, you get to see (photos) the lives of the people that were affected,” said Jim Henrich of Akron.

Jim Rolfes of Le Mars, the Akron Memorial Day keynote speaker, also said the display at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars was special.

Bill Williams and his wife Evonne have worked on the project after they coordinated the Heartland Honor Flights to take World War II veterans from Nebraska to Washington, D.C. for two years. Bellevue University is a sponsor of “Remembering Our Fallen” as well as many local Le Mars businesses.

“We started the display at Adel High School, then took it to the rotunda at the capital in Des Moines. It is booked each week until the second week of December,” said Williams, from Omaha.

The display is easily set up and people can come and pay their respects. To date, 71 military service men and women from Iowa have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Three died in two weeks just before the “Remembering Our Fallen” tour started and are included.

“We ask the family’s permission to use a military photograph, plus one of personal interest. They have to be of high quality. The personal picture is what really makes it,” said Williams. “We have had great response in Le Mars.”

At most stops for the display, there is an opening ceremony and special place of honor if a local town has been touched by the loss of a military person. The name of the deceased serviceman and rank is listed, as well as a family or a picture from their youth. Many liked baseball; others wrestling or cowboys. Ages ranged from 20s to age 58.

“Remembering Our Fallen” is a tribute to all of those who have served in the military and suffered wounds in uniform since the terrorist’s attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The exhibit was first created for the Strategic Air & Space Museum, with 98 photos from Nebraska and western Iowa soldiers, which started in November, 2010, with the help of the Omaha World-Herald newspaper.

Bill and Evonne Williams’s four sons have served in the military. They are, Ben, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and is an Army Reserve Sergeant; Tom is soon to be commissioned as a 2LT in the Marine Corps; Sam is soon to be commissioned as a 2LT in the Army; Max is a Marine Corporal and an Air Traffic Controller in Japan.

Some of the military personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice from Iowa are:

Aaron J. Sissel, 22, SPC, ARNG, Tipton, Iowa, died Nov. 29, 2003, from enemy fire in Iraq.

James Justice, 32, of Grimes, died April 23, from small arms fire in Afghanistan.

Michael J. Deutsch, 21, a PFC from Dubuque, died July 31, 2003 from an IED explosion.

Daniel P. Whitten, age 28, from Johnston, died Feb. 2, 2010. He had a picture taken at a Wrigley Field, Chicago, marquis, at a Cubs game.

Nate Schubert 22, CPL, USMC, Cherokee, died Jan. 26, 2005, in a helicopter crash.

Scott E. Nisel, age 48, Marshalltown, died Sept. 30, 2006, in an insurgent attack in Iraq.

Daniel L. Seesker, age 22, Sgt., ARNG, from Ogden, died Feb. 16, 2006, in an IED incident in Iraq, had his picture taken on a motorcycle.

Michael Pittman, 34, PFC, died June 15, 2007, in an IED incident in Iraq, had his picture taken with a child.

Jobias C. Meister, age 30, Remsen, died Dec. 28, 2005, in an IED incident in Afghanistan.

Paul J. Finken, age 40, LJC, died Nov. 2, 2006, in an IED incident.

John K. Lamborde, age 53, Reinbenk, died from non-combat injuries in Afghanistan.

Leroy O. Webster, age 28, SSG-USA, died April 28, 2009, from a gunshot wound. He is shown in his high school wrestling singlet.

For more information, visit www.RememberingOurFallen.org, info@RememberingOur Fallen.org.

“Warriors of the 21st Century are professionals who volunteered to join the United States Armed Forces. They grew up in the shadow of Sept. 11, 2001, a defining moment for most of them. Many have endured multiple deployments and most have returned home. Some have not,” a phrase on the Remembering Our Fallen display.

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