Lima Company Memorial: The Eyes on Freedom exhibit
WHERE: Ohio Statehouse, Rotunda – 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215
WHEN: Through Friday, February 7, 2020
PUBLIC EXHIBIT HOURS: Feb. 1-2: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Feb. 3-7: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This traveling memorial, delivered to you by R+L Carriers, depicts the fallen Marines and Navy Corpsman of Columbus, OH based Lima Company 3/25, one of the most heavily engaged units of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These 23 life-sized portraits have become a powerful traveling veterans tribute “honoring ALL who answer our nation’s call; then, now, and tomorrow.” These eyes reflect the hundreds of thousands of men and women that have sacrificed defending our freedom.
The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial was created as a result of an Ohio artist’s vision, in which she saw the finished memorial and felt she was being asked to create it. With the help of the families of the fallen and the returned Marines of L3/25, artist Anita Miller created and unveiled the work in the Ohio Statehouse Rotunda in 2008, as the vision foretold.
The Ohio-based Marine Reserve unit, once known as “Lucky Lima,” was one of the hardest hit units in Operation Iraqi Freedom, suffering casualties of 22 Marines and their Navy Corpsman. Created by artist Anita Miller, the memorial contains life-sized paintings of each of the 23 fallen heroes. Names and statistics of each of the fallen men, an ever-living candle, boots and space for visitors to leave mementos will be part of this moving memorial installation.
“We’re honored to return once again to the very site where it all began. The Statehouse Rotunda was home for the initial public unveiling back in May 2008 for artist Anita Miller’s amazing work.”
~ Mike Strahle, Director and Lima Co. Vet
“It is so important that this mission keeps traveling. It keeps our boys’ legacy alive and helps veterans everywhere.”
~ Keith Wightman, Gold Star Father
The fallen heroes include:
Private First Class Christopher R. Dixon
Lance Corporal Christopher P. Lyons
Staff Sergeant Anthony L. Goodwin
Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Youngblood (Navy Corpsman)
Sergeant Justin F. Hoffman
Staff Sergeant Kendall H. Ivy II
Lance Corporal Nicholas William B. Bloem
Corporal Andre L. Williams
Lance Corporal Grant B. Fraser
Lance Corporal Aaron H. Reed
Lance Corporal Edward A. Schroeder II
Lance Corporal William B. Wightman
Lance Corporal Timothy M. Bell, Jr.
Lance Corporal Eric J. Bernholtz
Corporal Dustin A. Derga
Lance Corporal Nicholas B. Erdy
Lance Corporal Wesley G. Davids
Sergeant David N. Wimberg
Lance Corporal Michael J. Cifuentes
Lance Corporal Christopher J. Dyer
Lance Corporal Jonathan W. Grant
Sergeant David Kenneth J. Kreuter
Lance Corporal Jourdan L. Grez
Although the paintings in this Memorial specifically depict the 23 fallen Marines from Lima 3/25, it has become much more. The mission of the nonprofit, Eyes of Freedom Traveling Memorial is to honor the service and sacrifice of all who answer our nation’s call. Behind each portrait one feels the spirit of the thousands of men and women who have served our country, in every branch of the armed forces, not forgetting the returning veterans now suffering from post-traumatic stress. As of 2018 this Memorial also includes the same artist’s newest creation: a life-sized, bronzed sculpture of a serviceman seated with head down, his face depicting emotions of the internal Silent Battle, as the touchable work is aptly named. He represents our nation’s veterans who struggle with suicide and post-traumatic stress, as they navigate life after combat. This powerful offering brings awareness, hope and a dose of healing to all who come in contact with him.
This traveling tribute is supported by a board of directors consisting of retired military, business men and women and clergy. The full time touring team has a personal connection to the men in the paintings; Mike Strahle is a purple heart combat veteran who fought alongside these men and was badly injured in one of the attacks. Sean Flaharty was personal friends of the fallen and helped support painter Anita Miller as a volunteer for years before becoming part of the touring team. Both men offer personal insight into the history and experience of this powerful memorial.
The Eyes of Freedom Memorial’s exclusive transportation provider is R+L Carriers, Inc. based in Wilmington, OH. R+L is a leading less-than-truckload (LTL) freight transportation company, providing guaranteed, day-definite regional and transcontinental service through a network of more than 100 service centers in the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
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