Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Afghan-Iraqi Freedom War Memorial

Construction is underway for the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom War Memorial in Salem, Oregon. The Memorial is the idea of Clay and MJ Kesterson whose son, Erik, was killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Mosul, Iraq on November 15, 2003. To honor their son's service and sacrifice and that of the others lost in Oregon, they have secured the land near the state capitol and gathered donations for the cost. Their web site is Freedom Isn't Free.

The majority of the people working on the project are volunteers, and most are veterans themselves. This has become a very personal project to many Oregonians who want to honor the lives of those who have served and those who were lost in these battles in the Great War on Terror.

The push is on to finish the Memorial by Veteran's Day. You can see a video and an article on the construction here.

Army CW1 Erik Kesterson was 29 when his Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Mosul, Iraq on November 15, 2003. He was with the 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Erik had served eight years in the Marine Corps as a crew chief and gunner on helicopters. He was awarded the Marine Corps Medal of Heroism for pulling seven men out of a burning helicopter crash. After September 11, he re-enlisted in the military, joining the Army's warrant officer program. "He felt he needed to do more for his country. He was very patriotic and believed in this country," his father, Clayton Kesterson of Independence, said. "He's a good man."

As the Kesterson's build something meaningful, we should all remember and pay tribute to the fine young men and women who have sacrificed so much for all of us.


Woody said...

How long do you think it will be before a bunch of left-wing activists hijack the project so that they can put their political statements all over it, like they did with the WTC Memorial and the recent one in Arizona?

Flag Gazer said...

The Kesterson's have, wisely, keep control of the purse and the design. They have come under some editorial fire from the People's Republic of San Francisco... nothing substantial, just the usual whines.