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|Quinn Opens "Portrait of a Fallen Soldier" in Kewanee -- STORY AND PHOTOS HERE
|An ongoing display of artwork honoring the state's fallen soldiers is back in the area, and Governor Pat Quinn was on hand to unveil it.
Quinn traveled to Kewanee in Henry County Thursday to open that city's showing of the "Portrait of a Fallen Soldier" traveling exhibit. A Mattoon, Illinois resident is in the process of making hand-drawn portraits of each of the state's fallen, and the latest of those to be added to the collection was Sergeant Schuyler Patch of Galva, who died in February while serving with the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan.
Quinn says seeing the portraits gives you important insight into those who lost their lives defending freedom. "If you look into the portraits, and you look into the eyes of the service members, you see their soul," Quinn said. "You see a special human being. God did not give them, in many cases, a long, chronological life. He gave them a purposeful life."
Quinn says whether you actually get the chance to see the display or not, it's important for everyone to express how grateful they are to the families of fallen and living soldiers.
Quinn was joined at the Kewanee American Legion Hall by State Representative Don Moffitt, and the family of Army Captain Joshua Steele of North Henderson, who died in Afghanistan in June of 2007.
Moffitt turned to Patch's family and several others, and told them again how he can't thank those families enough. "Your soldiers were heroes," Moffitt said. "They are herores. They continue to be heroes. But I just want to say you're heroes also. You're pillars of strength. You're role models for us. We cannot comprehend the loss that you're bearing."
Patch's father Jon says not a day goes by where he doesn't think about his son. "He's a great son, and a great friend," Patch said. "I loved him, and miss him."
Steele's father Phil had a message for those in attendance that goes beyond just remembering fallen soldiers. "Pray that our elected officials in Washington will have the strength to give the military what they need to get the job done, so (the soldiers) will not have died in vain," Steele said.
Governor Quinn told the gathering that viewing the portraits will change your life.
(Governor Pat Quinn speaks Thursday at the Kewanee American Legion.)
(State Rep. Don Moffitt turned to speak directly to several area families of fallen soldiers Thursday at the Kewanee American Legion, while Governor Pat Quinn watches.)
(The family of Army Capt. Joshua Steele speaks Thursday.)
(Governor Pat Quinn shakes hands with families in attendance Thursday.)
(Some of the portraits on display currently at the Kewanee American Legion, located on Railroad Ave. along Route 34. WGIL News Story and Photos by Will Stevenson.)
|11 13 09 by Newsroom
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