Wednesday night at the Jasper Armory the 1st Battalion 151st Infantry held the opening ceremony for the “Remembering Our Fallen Hoosiers Memorial Wall”. Keynote speaker was retired Lance Corporal Tina Moriarty of the Southern Indiana Leather Necks of the Marine Corps League. The Invocation and Benediction were given by Staff Sergeant Eric Vonderheide along with a dedication speech given in honor of lost service men and women by VFW member Steve Bartels.
The POW table that was honored in the opening ceremony speech is known as the Missing Man Table or also known as the Fallen Comrade Table. The table can be found during memorial services honoring fallen, missing or imprisoned service members. The table is most commonly seen in military dining facilities to commemorate those who are lost. Speaker Steve Bartels is a Vietnam Veteran and a member of the Jasper VFW. Bartels acts as the POW and MIA chairman for the VFW by speaking at events remembering soldiers who have been lost and their families and loved ones who still search for answers. He shared on the meaning of the items placed on the table and what each represents in remembering comrades who have not made it home.
The Boy-scouts presented colors and lead the pledge of allegiance which was followed by the invocation given by Staff Sergeant Eric Vonderheide. Staff Sergeant Eric Vonderheide, Company Human Resource Manager with the Indiana National Guard Stationed at the Jasper National Guard Armory is a member of the Dubois County Veteran Council and aided in the organization of bringing the Memorial to Dubois County. During the opening ceremony retired Marine Lance Corporal Tina Morarity gave a speech honoring those who had sacrificed their all. She also spoke on what this Memorial means in never forgetting our service men and women. Morarity organized and worked closely with all of the local veteran organizations to bring the Fallen Hoosier Memorial to Dubois county. Morarity explained in Dubois County how the veteran organizations come together for events such as this one.
Remembering Our Fallen Hoosier Memorial Wall is a traveling exhibit that was brought to the area by the Dubois County Veterans Council. The Wall honors Indiana service men and women who died defending America in The War on Terror. There are 151 Indiana soldiers honored on the memorial wall along with thirteen more soldiers who died after returning home, it also honors those who had ties to the Hoosier state. The Memorial Wall holds two Dubois County Marines who were lost in battle. Corporal Eric R Lueken in 2006 and Lance Corporal Alec Terwiske in 2012. Morartiy shared why the Memorial Wall is a key component in remembering a soldiers sacrifice and why not forgetting service men and women is important.
The wall tells the story of these young men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, loved ones and family, this is displayed through a collage of photographs. There are also notes posted from loved ones next to the pictures of the soldiers. Some of the soldiers are pictured holding their newborns, while other pictures are of soldiers themselves as young bright eyed children. Past service men and woman along with the public are invited to remember these soldiers and come and give their respects to the sacrifice payed for the sacred ideals and freedoms of our nation.
Along with the Fallen Hoosier Wall Memorial there is a 5k run planned for Saturday, September 23th. Registration is at 8 a.m. and is twenty-five dollars. The race starts at 9 a.m. with a bang by the firing of a Howitzer Artillery Gun. The race will start and finish at the Armory and prizes will be awarded.
The hours of the exhibit are as follows: Thursday & Friday 12 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.