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Wall honors fallen soldiers

Display at Hillsboro American Legion is part of statewide tour

News editor

“Remembering the Fallen,” a traveling wall honoring service members from Kansas who have died in wars since the September 11 terror attacks, arrived Sunday in Hillsboro for a weeklong display at Hillsboro American Legion Post 366.

Post information officer Randy Frank coordinated the memorial’s visit, and his efforts were as personal as they were patriotic.

Frank was a noncommissioned Army officer during both Desert Storm and Desert Shield. As part of his duties, he served funeral detail.

The timing of the exhibit, inclusive of Veterans Day, provides broader significance, Frank said.

“It’s just in remembrance of the veterans and fallen of all the wars, and also to the gold star mothers that are out there,” he said. “There are many gold star mothers, not just from the desert wars, but other wars as well.”

Gold star mothers are ones who lost sons or daughters in war. This is personal for Frank, too; his wife, Keeley, is one.

Her son, Kevin Gilbertson, served in the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Iraq.

“He served three tours,” Frank said. “We’re very proud of Kevin.”

Gilbertson died of a gunshot wound in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2007.

Frank hopes those who see the pictures and read the stories of Kansans, who have fallen, will walk away with a greater appreciation for our freedoms.

“All these service members gave them the rights to do what they do,” Frank said. “The Constitution is a piece of paper; this is what made it happen. All freedoms that endure are because of those standing right in front of them.”

The exhibit will be open to the general public Wednesday, Veterans Day, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and again at the same times Saturday. Private group tours also are available and can be arranged by calling Frank at (620) 381-0710.

Last modified Nov. 9, 2015

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