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Topeka museum remembers fallen soldiers with traveling exhibit

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The “Remembering Our Fallen” memorial at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard has 32 tribute towers with military and personal photos of more than 5,000 soldiers who have died since September 11, 2001.

On the morning of May second in 2004, Deborah Drexler got a knock on her door from army officers. Her son Jeremy’s platoon was on a mission in Baghdad, Iraq, when was shot and killed by a Shiite IED launcher.

“The first thing you think is, ‘oh my god, oh my god, what am I going to do, what’s going on,’ and so, I knew by the different branch that it was Jeremy because he was army because I had one in the army, one in the navy and one in the marines,” she said.

Her son Kenneth, the marine, passed away in 2018 with complications of PTSD.

“Losing a child, it rips your heart out and it’s different from losing your spouse, or mother or brother. You never get over it,” she said. “You just find a way of getting through each day, each moment.”

“I feel that it lets them know that someone cares and I do,” said Luton.

The memorial’s opening ceremony Wednesday morning included guest speakers Governor Laura Kelly and Col. Dan Skoda, Commander of the 190th Air Refueling Wing.

Drexler said, “They’re important and we need to keep remembering that they cared about our country - our country’s one of the greatest. In my opinion, it is the greatest.”

Representative of the traveling exhibit David Luton said it’s important any and everyone come to it.

“That’s the whole goal of this. It gives a little relief to the families, but we need to educate our younger children about this,” he said. “They need to come out and look and see what the sacrifice is.”

Organizers see all kinds of people visit since its inception in 2017. From those who have lost loved ones to war to those who simply want to pay their respects.

Drexler said none of these faces should be forgotten.

“It’s not just about Jeremy, it’s about everybody and when somebody lays their own life down, just like Christ did. The only two people that laid their life down are Jesus and our soldiers and our military,” she said.

Deborah’s third son, Timothy, is a Chief in the Navy stationed now in Virginia.

The exhibit is free for everyone to see from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will be in Topeka until Monday morning.

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Museum of the Kansas National Guard remembers soldiers who have died since September 11, 2001, with a traveling exhibit that can be seen until Monday.

The exhibit named “Remembering Our Fallen” features the names and photos of more than 5,000 American men and women who lost their lives at war since 9/11.

The memorial has 32 tribute towers with military and personal photos.

An opening ceremony Wednesday included guest speakers Governor Laura Kelly and Col. Dan Skoda of the 190th Air Refueling Wing Commander.

Organizers see all kinds of people visit, from those who have lost loved ones to war to those who simply want to pay their respects so no one is forgotten.

National Representative of the memorial David Luton said it’s important any and everyone come to see and remember.

“That’s the whole goal of this. It gives a little relief to the families, but we need to educate our younger children about this,” he said. “They need to come out and look and see what the sacrifice is.”

The exhibit is free and is available to see from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Monday.

We spoke with the mother of a soldier who passed away in battle. We’ll have her story and more from the exhibit tonight on 13 News at 10.

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