The American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation is committed to the goal of building the American Fallen Warrior Memorial and Museum in Kansas City by 2024.

By RIMSIE MCCONIGA
rmcconiga@leavenworthtimes.com


The American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation is committed to the goal of building the American Fallen Warrior Memorial and Museum in Kansas City by 2024.
It will honor and celebrate those who paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and liberties, educate the public about the sacrifices made to protect America during these troubling times, and serve as a venerable meeting place for veterans to work, learn, and heal.

The Memorial and Museum will commemorate America’s Fallen Warriors in the years during the War on Terror, beginning with the 1983 Beirut, Lebanon barracks bombings to the present time.
The American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation will be bringing the Remembering Our Fallen traveling exhibit and military tribute to Cabela’s at the Legends Outlet on race weekend – Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12.

The focus of the event is on Gold Star families, veterans and patriotic citizens who want to pay tribute to, and honor servicemen and servicewomen who died serving their country during the period of 1983 to the present.
The event will kick off in Leavenworth. There will be three honor ceremonies in the two days of the exhibit.
The first is in Leavenworth at noon on Friday May 11 at Home2 Suites on Delaware Street.
There will be an honor guard, brief speeches by the Foundation Vice President, Col. Brad Hilton from Fort Leavenworth, State Representative Jeff Pittman, a Gold Star mother, and then a motorcade with 200 motorcycle riders escorting the display through Leavenworth to Cabela’s.
The organizers are working with the Patriot Guard Riders and local police. There will also be honor ceremonies at Cabela’s  on Friday and  Saturday  at 4:30 p.m.

AFWMF is encouraging Leavenworth, Fort Leavenworth and Lansing residents, volunteers, business owners and workers, students, families, and veterans to line the route and wave flags to honor and celebrate our fallen warriors and honor our military community.

“The Remembering Our Fallen exhibit has been well-received in all the cities it has visited since its national unveiling in August, 2017 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C,” says Jim Potocki, AFWMF marketing and PR staff member. “The AFWMF has invited more than 30 KC-based Veteran Service Organizations and their members,  as well as Gold Star families in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, to join us at Cabela's and show their support for our country's fallen warriors and our Foundation's mission. We're bringing this free exhibit to KCK and Cabela's to serve as a mobile example of what the AFWMF would like to do with the American Fallen Warrior Memorial and Museum in Kansas City. As our mission gains momentum and community support, this two-day showcase (Friday and  Saturday) will serve as our public launch to tell our story and mission and stand alongside our Gold Star families, veterans, and military community. Admission to the ROF exhibit is free.
“We will be asking people to donate whatever they feel is appropriate to help us start to organize and plan for the building of the Memorial and Museum in the future.”

Remembering Our Fallen is a photographic war memorial honoring almost 5,000 of our country’s military fallen from all aspects of the War on Terror.
It travels to select communities and includes both military and personal photos.
Its legacy will be that these men and women will be remembered and their names will be spoken. A Gold Star family’s greatest fear is that their fallen will be forgotten.
“We’re bringing this free exhibit to Kansas City, Kansas to serve as a mobile example of what the AFWMF would like to do with its Memorial and Museum,” said Mike Prevou, AFWMF Director of Operations. “We want race fans, Kansas Citians and people from Leavenworth, Lansing and Fort Leavenworth to stop by Cabela’s to walk around and view this powerful and somber display. As our mission gains momentum and community support, this will be our public launch to tell our story and stand alongside our Gold Star families, veterans, and military community.”

There is a fine line between military and civilian fallen warriors.
“We are looking at ways to honor fallen first-responders and victims of terrorist acts (9/11 is only one of many),” says Potocki.  “We are not far enough along in our planning to have a decision yet. We plan to hold talks over the next year with veterans groups, first-responders, and families of civilians who died as a result of a terrorist act within the U.S. in an effort to determine how we can best honor them.”
The exhibit will include approximately 5,000 military and personal photos of fallen service members.
Their photos will be displayed on individual towers that will be grouped together in the Cabela's parking lot for visitors to walk around, view, and take photos.
The overall theme of the exhibit is ensuring that these men and women will be remembered and their names will be spoken.

The AFWMF believes the memorial needs to be built as soon as possible since a 40-year old non-commissioned officer  who died during the Beirut bombing would be 75 today. “We cannot wait another 25 years to honor these dedicated Americans,” says Potocki.  
“By building this Memorial and Museum in Kansas City, we are not bound by many of the restrictions that are placed on a congressionally approved memorial in the Washington, D.C. area.”
There were 110 national monuments, memorials and statues in the Washington D.C. area by 1986 and about 15 new proposals were being suggested to Congress each session.
Because of this, the Commemorative Works Act was passed to establish "significant procedural roadblocks" to the creation of new memorials.

Admission to the ROF exhibit is free and people can donate whatever they feel is appropriate to help AFWMF organize and plan for the building of the Memorial and Museum.
“Our board and team members believe in the Foundation's vision and mission and want to do whatever it takes to honor and celebrate our fallen warriors from the War on Terror,” says Potocki. “Almost every member of our team lost friends or family or comrades during the War on Terror, so for them this is very personal.
“Many of our board and team members are veterans of this war who served in Afghanistan, Iraq or Africa.
“This mission will be accomplished with the help of Americans from all walks of life joining forces to ensure that the Memorial and Museum is organized, funded, and built so that our fallen heroes have a suitable and sacred place of remembrance and honor.  

“We think it's very important for the children and students across the nation to understand the sacrifices that are being made around the world on a daily basis to protect our country's freedoms, liberties, and way of life. 
“The museum will be designed as a place of learning.”
The AFWMF’s  goal  is to have the memorial completed by  Sept. 11, 2024. 
This target date will depend on local support and fundraising.
Most importantly, AFWMF wants local residents to learn and understand their mission, support the mission, and contribute in any way they can to the building of the American Fallen Warrior Memorial and Museum in Kansas City.
It will take a total team effort to build this privately funded facility.

11:30 a.m. – noon:  Meet and greet with guests and media at Home2 Suites by Hilton downtown Leavenworth  (250 Delaware Street).

Noon – 12:30 p.m.:  Welcome ceremony at Home2 Suites (scheduled speakers: Col. Brad Hilton, State Representative Jeff Pittman, AFWMF representative Chris Croft, Gold Star family member.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.:  Movement to Cabela’s at the Legends Outlet. Exhibit will be escorted by 200 Patriot Guard riders on motorcycles and local police.

For more information on the memorial and museum visit afwmf.org. Volunteers can sign up at info@afwmf.org.