A travelling tribute to Texas' fallen service members made its first visit to North Texas this weekend for Pottsboro's Frontier Days festival. The Texas Fallen Project displayed its “Remembering Our Fallen of Texas” memorial as a part of the festival and paid tribute to the more than 600 armed forces members from Texas who have died since 9/11.
“This is just an amazing way to honor the fallen soldiers of Texas,” Pottsboro Chamber board member Sarah Proctor said.
The wall was started about six years ago by Bobby Withrow, who serves as the project's president and CEO. The display features 20 10-foot wall segments with pictures, and descriptions of the 618 service members who have died in active combat zones since the 2001 terrorist attacks. This is one of 15 similar displays ongoing throughout the country in other states.
Withrow said he still needs to add displays for three service members who have died in duty this year. However, information on one was on display on a separate table during Saturday's display.
“(This is) to show the families that their husbands, wives and kids will never be forgotten,” he said.
Festival organizers held a dedication ceremony for the wall as a part of the display. Members of several gold-star families who had not seen the display were invited by the chamber to attend the ceremony, Chamber Secretary Deb Hass said.
“We just thought that this would be a cool addition to our Frontier Days lineup,” Hass said. “They contacted us and we decided to bring it out here.
The memorial made its trip to North Texas Friday afternoon when it travelled from Van Alstyne up to Pottsboro. First responders from many of the region's fire and law enforcement departments joined with civic and patriotic organizations to escort the wall on its trip up State Highway 289 toward the festival grounds.
Proctor, who was in the escort group representing Preston Fire Rescue, said original plans called for the route to follow U.S. Highway 75 and past bridge-top salutes from Denison, Howe and other fire departments, but traffic forced an alternate route at the last minute.