Portrait displays honoring fallen heroes displayed at visitor centers

Veteran memorials are back up at visitor centers across the state. They’ve been down for about three years, while plans to improve them were made.
Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 11:16 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 at 6:19 AM EST
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Veteran memorials are back up at visitor centers across Vermont after improvements over the past three years, and Gold star families say they’re relieved they’re back.

“Lest they be forgotten has been our mantra from the very beginning,” said Marion Gray, a Gold Star mother who lost her son, Sgt. Jamie Gray, in Iraq 17 years ago.

His portrait is one of 42 displayed on these portrait memorials at visitor centers across the state, honoring lives lost during the global war on terrorism. “I miss him,” Gray said. “He was a great kid his dad misses him terribly just like all the other families.”

Floyd Moody hung portraits of the heroes at some point in the late 2000s. After time started taking its toll on the images, the Vermont Office of Veteran Affairs decided it was time to make some upgrades, adding an educational component to the displays.

“There’s an Afghanistan map and an Iraq map on the interpreter panel,” explained Robert Burke, the office’s director. “Then, there are a series of stars and that’s where each one of the casualties had happened.”

Another upgrade to these displays is that people will be able to use their phones to scan a QR code. When they do, they’ll be brought to a website where they’ll be able to read short biographies of each fallen hero.

“They’ll be able to learn a little bit more about our sons and husbands who gave their lives,” Gray said. “I think that’s why we build monuments to remind people of the sacrifices that were made.”

Right now there are displays in Williston, Fair Haven, and Sharon. Four more are planned to go up in the spring.

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