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Flags of Honor memorial to come to Ironton

More than 240 military men and women from Ohio have lost their lives since the Iraq War began and Ironton residents will soon have an opportunity pay tribute to them in a special way.

Thanks to the American Legion Post 433, the Ohio Flags of Honor traveling memorial will make a stop in Ironton on Aug. 19. Legion member Ted Riedel said he saw the memorial about three years ago in another city and wanted it to come to Ironton.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War, Riedel said he didn’t want any soldier to feel unwelcome back home in the United States the way he did when he returned from war. So he put in an application to have the Flags of Honor come to Ironton.

“It’s a beautiful sight to see those flags,” Riedel said. “The people of Lawrence County should see it.”

Riedel said the Legion has invited families from surrounding counties to post the flags for their own loved ones that died during the war.

The memorial travels all over the state and displays 10-foot tall “flags of honor” with the name of each military man and woman written on it who has died in the Iraq War, and hundreds more “tribute flags” that are sponsored by families, individuals, businesses and veterans organizations.

Daniel Lambert, vice president of the Columbus-based memorial, said he expects at least 600 flags to be displayed in Ironton.

“It’s quite a display,” Lambert said. “You can feel the presence of the men and women there… You can just feel it. I don’t even know how to describe it.”

He also said it is encouraged to walk among the flags and leave pictures of the fallen soldiers on the poles.

“It’s not a stand-and-look-at-it display,” he said

Owner of the Ironton Hills Shopping Center, William Trembly, has donated the use of the property to display the flags. There will be an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. Aug. 19, where each name will be read aloud and a flag will be planted in the ground. There will also be an honor guard salute and taps played nightly while the display is up. The closing ceremony will be 1 p.m. Aug. 21.