Remembering the Fallen

By Nadia Crow

PALO, Iowa - Freedom isn't free. It's a phrase we hear time and time again to describe the ultimate sacrifice our fallen soldiers pay. 82 Iowans killed in the War on Terror are displayed in a mobile wall exhibit traveling across Iowa. Standing tall with American flags to honor the fallen.

"Unfortunately war happens and we can't forget those who paid the ultimate price," said Patriot Guard Ride Captain Scott Rathjens.
Guarding a memorial exhibit inside the Palo Community Center featuring 82 Iowans killed in the War on Terror. "I want to bring attention to everybody that's on the wall," Rathjens said.

And one of those fallen soldiers Gold Star Parent Don Gilbertson wears proudly on his shirt. His 24 year old son Sergeant Kevin Gilbertson died in Iraq in 2007. "I think it was the best thing for him at the time and I still do. It brought him a greater awareness to the world around him," said Gold Star Parent Don Gilbertson.

Almost every soldier is shown in uniform. And next to that photo, an image of the person so many called a son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father. It's the good times Gilbertson says he keeps close to his heart. "Childhood, growing up, fishing, boating, camping," said Gilbertson.

Every face tells a story. Every image carries a memory. A moment in time before these brave souls gave their lives for this nation. "It was quite an emotional deal," said Gilbertson. "All the pictures. It took my breath away and brought a tear to my eye," said Rathjens. "This exhibit featuring fallen Iowans will remain at the Palo Community Center until Wednesday. Its next stop is in Cherokee, Iowa.
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