Texas Gold Star Families, veterans and visitors from all around the South Texas area gathered to remember the 604 fallen military servicemen and women from Texas at H.U. Wood American Legion Post 245 in Seguin, Texas. They came to pay tribute to the brave men and women immortalized on the “Remembering Our Fallen from Texas” exhibit, a photo memorial honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice since the global war on terror began on Sept. 11, 2001.
American Legion Riders (ALR) Chapter 245 Director Jerry Ramirez led riders from several other local ALR groups with support by several local law enforcement agencies to escort the vehicle carrying the exhibit through two cities and two counties before arriving to Post 245. A large gathering of people, many holding stationary flag poles or waving smaller flags, welcomed the exhibit to its home for the next four days. The exhibit was on display Sept. 19-22, 2016, at Post 245.
The large crowd gathered for the opening ceremony listened intently as 2nd Vice Commander Felisa Ramirez welcomed the guests and provided a detailed description of the origins and mission of the Remembering Our Fallen exhibit. Seguin Mayor Don Keil read an official proclamation proclaiming Sept. 19-22 as “Remembering Our Fallen Week.” Many of the visitors stayed until the post closed, spending time at each of the panels remembering and honoring these heroes.
Visitors filtered in and out of Post 245 throughout the week until the closing ceremony on Thursday evening. Throughout the week, many people visited the exhibit, and for some the experience was emotionally overwhelming. Several visitors only made it a few feet inside the Legion hall before turning around and walking back out in tears. Many visitors expressed their heartfelt gratitude to all involved in bringing the exhibit to Seguin.
“Remembering Our Fallen" was created in November 2010 by Bill and Evonne Williams of Omaha, Neb. Their hope is to forever honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, to provide a sense of comfort to friends and family of the fallen, and to remind all others of the tremendous price paid by some. Its legacy will be that these men and women will never be forgotten and that their names will be remembered and spoken.
Unlike other stationary memorials made of stone, the Texas traveling memorial measures 200 linear feet with an American flag backdrop and images of the fallen military heroes in uniform as well as pictures of them in their civilian lives. The photographs serve to put a face to every name of anyone honored by the exhibit. Visitors are welcomed to leave notes expressing their feelings for the individuals honored in the display. These notes are carefully attached to each respective photograph and will stay with the exhibit on its future travels.
The Texas exhibit is sponsored by the Texas Funeral Directors’ Association. Bringing the event to Seguin was the brainchild of Tiffany Cooper Aguilar, funeral director at Palmer’s Mortuary and Cremations. Cooper-Aguilar shared her idea with Felisa Ramirez, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant(SMSgt) and the wheels were immediately set in motion to bring the exhibit to Post 245. Ramirez said, “I felt it was vitally important that a veterans service organization like The American Legion house this beautiful tribute to our men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and our freedom.”
It’s been said that a man dies twice; once when he’s taken his last breath and a second time when his name is spoken for the last time. The “Remembering Our Fallen from Texas” exhibit keeps these brave American heroes’ memories alive for generations to come.