Fallen heroes get remembered

Fallen Heroes Tree of Honor dedication

BLOOMINGTON - Families across the country gathered in the Twin Cities Tuesday to honor our fallen heroes.

Losing a loved one to war is never easy, especially when the holidays come. But a local organization is making sure no family has to go through it alone.

"There's a very big military belief that you actually die twice," said Vonda Rodgers, a Golden Star Mother. "That the first time you might die on the battlefield, but the second time you die, is when people stop saying your name, and when they stop remembering you."
    
America's Gold Star Families found a way to make sure every fallen hero's name would continue to be said, heard and remembered for years to come. They created the Fallen Heroes Tree of Honor .

Not only is Frances Maddox a gold star mother, but she takes the time away from her busy schedule to chair the project.

"On this tree, we have over 155 ornaments, representing 33 states," said Frances Maddox, Fallen Hero Tree of Honor Chair. "All conflicts, going all the way back to the Civil War; we had one ornament."

There was a tree lighting ceremony at the Central Illinois Regional Airport Tuesday morning to kick off this season, dedicating it to the beloved fallen soldiers.

Republican State Senator Jason Barickman, and Republican State Representative Dan Brady offered their condolences at the event.

Vonda Rodgers lost her son Josh earlier this year when he was serving in Afghanistan. She wants the community to remember the hero he was.

"Josh will tell you, it was just my job," said Rodgers. "I think almost every person actively serving will say you don't have to thank me, it's just my job. I just push back on that because all of us absolutely need to thank them."

Rodgers said even though she misses her son every day, she wouldn't wish for it to have happened differently, because he was doing what he loved.

"He believed in it, and I think that's what was so important," said Rodgers. "Is he believed in what they were doing, he believed in this idea of fighting for freedom globally."


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