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'Living memorial' kiosk humanizes fallen soldiers

Nov 11, 2016 - By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

The installation in the Riverton library tells the stories of post-9/11 Wyomingites.

The Riverton library is hosting this month one of Wyoming's three Fallen Warrior Kiosk Memorial, which provides stories and information about all 72 soldiers from Wyoming that have died in combat since the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Linda Allgeier, who chairs the Wyoming Veterans Commission, said the kiosk is valuable to show how these soldiers are "not just people in uniform."

"It portrays them as real people," she said. "It gave personality to the uniform."

Allgeier's organization funded and designed the memorials, which were completed in 2014.

She said it's important for these memorials to be in public places, like libraries, where children can interact with them and learn "the price of freedom."

Larry Barttelbort, director of the commission, said the "living memorial" has greatly benefitted from soldiers' families, which provide much of the photography and material for soldiers like Chance Phelps, a Riverton native who was killed in action while fighting in the 2004 Battle for Ramadi.

"That's not something you can do in granite," Barttelbort said. "We don't just want them to be names on a wall."

Pat Lawson, who represents Fremont County for the commission, said the kiosks continue to be updated and "families have the opportunity to put in any data they want about their fallen loved ones."

"Unfortunately, they need to be updated regularly," she said.

The memorial is expected is move to the Dubois library at the beginning of December.
 

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