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TANGIBLE REMINDERS SIGNIF


because Ladies Auxiliary members across the state of Washington are determined to honor them.


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Members have undertaken the Fallen Soldiers Banner Project to memorialize all Iraq and Afghanistan casualties from their home state with banners bearing their photographs. Three years ago, Gold Star Mother Kim Cole, now a member of Auxiliary 51, Spokane, wanted to help foster the healing process for Gold Star Families by printing banners to honor individual soldiers and testify to the sacrifices they made for their country.


Photographs chosen by their families were printed larger-than- life-size, along with name, birthday, hometown, branch of service, rank and date of death on sturdy vinyl


18 LADIES AUXILIARY VFW MAGAZINE


ne by one, hundreds of America’s fallen heroes will be recognized by multitudes


banners. When the project stalled at 33 banners due to lack of resources, Junior Past Department President and then-Department Chaplain Diane Small offered fundraising assistance from Ladies Auxiliary members.


“The members just loved it,” Small said, when the project was presented during a Department Convention. “At that very convention, people just started pulling money out of their pockets.” Two thousand dollars was donated at that first introduction. Through Auxiliaries, the project now


has more than 200 banners completed and has $14,000 on hand for another 140. At their last count, about 450 Washington soldiers had been killed fighting the Global War on Terrorism. Each banner is created only if permission and input of family members is received. Families are notified when a banner is completed


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