Bossier Sheriff’s Office motorcycle deputies and Posse members joined Louisiana State Police, Bossier City Police Department, Patriot Guard Riders, and Green Knights Motorcycle Club to escort a special photographic war memorial that honors our country’s fallen from The War of Terror (Sept. 11, 2001 to present).
The team escorted the large display, called “Remembering our Fallen,” from Bossier City Wednesday morning to the Riverpark Church on East 70th in Shreveport (formerly Hamel’s). After setting up, the memorial will be on display for the public to view from Wednesday through noon on Sunday.
“It shows respect for these men and women who gave their all, the ultimate, for this country over the last 19 years,” said Vietnam veteran, Louis McGinty, and member of the NWLA Patriot Guard Riders. “It’s the very least we can do to show a little respect to come out this morning and escort this trailer and those panels with their pictures and names on them.”
Dep. Tommy Burton of the Bossier Sheriff’s Office served in the United States Marine Corps from 1992 to 1996, and he was honored to be one of the motorcycle riders who escorted the memorial.
“Doing anything that has to do with escorting the veterans holds a special place in my heart, being former military myself in the Marine Corps,” said Dep. Burton. “I also have a son who has been both in the Marine Corps and currently serving in the Army, so anything honoring the vets or anything like that means a lot to me.”
Theresa Neff is hosting the 16th Annual Car Show and Bike Event at Riverpark Church on Saturday, and she says the memorial will be available for people to come visit during the week starting Wednesday and going though noon on Sunday. She is also a military wife and Blue Star Moth with the Bossier City Blue Star Mothers, supporting mothers who have sons or daughters in the armed forces.
“This event is to raise awareness for Veterans Day (Nov. 11) so you can come out and thank a veteran,” Neff said.
Noala Fritz is a Gold Star Mother who travels with the memorial to help others know how important it is to remember our fallen heroes who died serving our country, especially since the War on Terrorism on Sept. 11, 2001. She lost her son, 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz, on Jan. 20, 2007, who was executed while in a POW status.
“Inside the trailer we have towers that we set up with panels, and on those panels are pictures of the fallen since the Global War on Terrorism was declared,” Fritz said. “We ask for the family to give us a picture of them in their military uniform and one of them loving life – with family, a hobby. The military picture will show you the professionalism, and the inset picture shows them loving life, and it humanizes our Soldiers. It’s such a moving memorial. So many people when they see it, it’s like ‘I can’t believe we’ve lost this many’.
Dep. Burton encourages others to come see the heroes…and honor their memory.
“It’s an honor, it really is,” exclaimed Dep. Burton. “Just proud being able to escort it and to bring attention to the fact that there is this display to show everybody.”
McGinty has been supporting veterans for many years, and he says, ”I encourage the public to come out and look and honor these people that gave that ultimate.”
“That’s why we bring it out here,” said Neff. “I think a lot of people miss the fact of how many people made the sacrifice, whether they took the oath and never went to combat, or whether they went to combat and went all the way (and gave their life) where they are in our memory now.
“We can’t forget them…any of them. This is for our veterans.”
Everyone is invited to view the “Remembering our Fallen” memorial while it’s on display through Nov. 8 at Riverpark Church on 3232 E. 70th. Veterans for Veterans is hosting the event, which will also feature a Veterans Biker Event and Car Show. The family event open to the public, and they will have music, food and drinks (no alcohol), a bike show, bike games, a car show, a silent auction, speakers and proclamations. Find out more by going to www.veteransforveterans.com.