SHIPPENSBURG – Veterans from all branches of service who were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 will be honored Saturday and into the future, with the dedication of the Fallen Heroes of the Mid-Atlantic States memorial at Shippensburg Memorial Park.
The memorial is being presented to the Borough of Shippensburg by Ret. Army SFC Timothy J. Wright.
“In 2006, a man had a wall with just Pennsylvania soldiers on it and when I saw his wall, it did something to me,” Wright recalled.
He said he was inspired to create a similar aluminum wall with the names of more than 800 fallen soldiers from not only Pennsylvania, but also Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C. Delaware and New Jersey.
“They had to die in a combat zone in Iraq or Afghanistan or have a combat-related death,” he explained.
He started the wall in 2007 and it took about a month and a half to complete. “I had the idea in my head of what I wanted to do,” he recalled. Wright said he did research to find the names of fallen soldiers. “Every branch of the service is on here,” he explained. “I personally have no one on here, but I feel as is there are my brothers and sisters. I’ve read every bio.”
Once completed, Wright turned his memorial wall into a traveling exhibit. “I pulled it around in parades and different shows. I traveled with it to every one of these states and didn’t charge a dime because they already paid the ultimate sacrifice” Wright said. “I enjoyed it. I did 33 years in the Army. This is the way I serve now.”
Wright was a military police officer and K9 handler who served in Vietnam and Desert Storm.
But the time has come for the retired officer to reassign his memorial wall.
“My wife and I planned on moving, so I decided to donate it,” Wright explained.
A dedication ceremony for the Fallen Heroes of the Mid-Atlantic memorial will begin at noon in front of the memorial on Park Place, next to the Vietnam Memorial and overlooking Veterans Stadium.
Families of the veterans are expected to be in attendance and the public is welcome as well.
The ceremony will include Taps, a drum and firing gun salute and special music and is expected to last about an hour. Some socially-distanced seating will be available, but BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair) is encouraged.
Sponsors of the memorial include Art Sign Company of Chambersburg; RA Yohe Construction of Shippensburg; Richard and Sylvia Humphrey of Shippensburg; Timmons Oil Inc. of Orrstown; and LSL Sportsman Club of Orrstown; as well as three Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and multiple American Legion Posts.
Wright said he’s happy the Fallen Heroes of the Mid-Atlantic will get their place in local history.
“I want people to remember these fallen heroes now, not several years down the road,” he said.