June 9, 2010
Plans are underway this week for a new memorial, honoring fallen soldiers of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though the conflicts aren't over, organizers say it's time to honor those who have given their lives. And the woman behind the effort holds the cause very close to her heart.
"There isn't a day, there isn't a moment goes by that I don't think of him," said Anita Dixon, as she holds a picture of her son, Sgt. Evan Parker.
Dixon says her son spent his whole life serving others, and gave his life to serve the country.
"He loved being a soldier, he represented his country well, he died in honor," said Dixon.
Parker died in October of 2005, from injuries he received in an IED ambush while serving in Iraq.
"For me, moving on past that grief was being able to give back in honor of my son," said Dixon.
Now, she hopes to honor her son by organizing a memorial in Wichita's Veterans Memorial Park. The memorial will honor Kansas soldiers who have died fighting the War on Terror.
"I think it's a place that we can come, and we can actually touch, and we can know that our children are a part of that," said Dixon.
The memorial will be among others that went up after each war was over. This will be the first in Wichita's Memorial Park to go up before the war had ended.
"As a rule it's after the war's over. But when you take into consideration we've been in Afghanistan now for 10 years, that's a long time," said Wichita Veterans Memorial Park Board Member Bryson Allen.
So organizers agree, it's time to honor those who have served in the current conflict, and are still serving.
"To me, that keeps him alive in my heart, and it's just something I have to do," said Dixon.
The first official meeting for planning the memorial takes place Thursday. Organizers are currently in the process of setting up a fund for donations.