KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s never been designated as an official war.
However, fighting terrorism across the globe has cost the United States thousands of military members, American men and women serving the forces of freedom. Two men from the Kansas City metro said they have plans to honor our heroes lost to the war on terror.
It`s a matter of respect and responsibility, according to the plan’s spokesmen. Retired U.S. Navy CMD Jack Rush and retired Army LTC Mike Prevou head up the American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation, a registered non-profit that aims to establish a permanent national museum and memorial to honor patriots who`ve died while protecting Americans from danger.
Rush, Prevou and their loved ones set out 4,000 American flags at Kansas Speedway on Thursday, just before the Memorial Day weekend. On Tuesday, the two military men, who have a combined 57 years of service, have proposed the nation’s first permanent memorial to soldiers, sailors and others lost while fighting terrorists.
“They need to be recognized and the youth need to be educated as to how these deaths occurred and the sacrifices that were made,” CMD Rush said.
Both Rush and Prevou point to the 1983 Beirut bombings are the beginning of the war on terror. In that horrific event, two truck bombs exploded, killing more than 300 people, 241 of them were U.S. Military members. CMD Rush said the small recognition those men and women have received isn’t enough. AFWMF leaders pointed out that young soldiers of that era would be in their 50s and 60s now, and their families would appreciate tribute.
LTC Prevou also mentioned the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, the 1996 Khobar Towers Bombings in Saudi Arabia, and, most notably, the attacks on American soil on September 11, 2001 as being events where military members gave their all.
“We think there’s more to it. We think these individuals over all these years need to be remembered for the impact they’ve had with their families and friends,” CMD Rush said.
“We wanted to create one that’s here in the heartland, close to about 60 percent of the American population, within a day’s drive. That’s why Kansas City was selected for this,” LTC Prevou said. “You can’t throw a stone without knowing somebody who went to war during this war on terror or who lost somebody. It impacts everybody.”
Part of the proposed exhibit includes a large memorial in the shape of a star, an interactive museum, where the public can learn more about each fallen military member, and a resource center, where armed forces veterans can seek assistance, education, and training. For the time being, the memorial would only honor military members who’ve served in the battle on terror. However, CMD Rush wouldn’t rule out the inclusion of first responders at some point.
“Our hope is this will be something that will memorialize those who are lost. Battle buddies can come here and decompress, if you will,” CMD Rush added.
It’s also meant to be a place where those patriots can pay their solemn respects to the fearless and faithful. CMD Rush said community leaders in Wyandotte County have been supportive in this effort. LTC Prevou said this foundation plans a special kickoff luncheon for this plan, appropriately, on September 11th.