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VAU Fallen Heroes Memorial


WHEN: April 30- Beginning at 1pm through May 2nd at 4pm

WHERE: Decatur Public Library


Sponsors: Decatur Public Library, History of the Heartland-- The visit to Decatur will be sponsored by local families and businesses. One sponsor is a former Decatur resident that is a Bronze Star Recipient earned while serving in Vietnam. The committee is still seeking sponsors for the Memorial exhibit in Decatur.

HOTEL: Decatur Conference center-$99.00 room rate for sleeping rooms, and an additional $85.00 government rate too for any official or veteran

VOLUNTEERS: To volunteer to be a greeter during the event call (217) 791-1385

Flag website:

More Info: (217)791-1385 updates will be posted on the History of the Heartland fb page

The Decatur Public Library and History of the Heartland will host this beautiful and touching dog tag flag memorial April 30- May 2. The flag is owned by Veterans & Athletes United (VAU) an all-volunteer disabled veterans 501c3 non-profit organization based in Richmond, VA. Their mission is to empower wounded, injured and ill veterans to fully live their lives and honor our fallen military heroes.

The 2nd part of the VAU mission is to honor our fallen heroes and their families. The VAU Fallen Heroes Memorial is a 28ft wide by 6ft tall American flag symbolizing the shape of the flag when draped on a fallen service members casket. It is designed out of close to 7000 dog tags with all the names of those who have fallen in the Global War on Terror. Fifty gold stars are placed on the flag to honor and recognize Gold Star Families from all 50 states. Displayed in front of the flag is a battlefield cross sculpted from mahogany wood by veteran artist Alicia Dietz. This memorial travels to special locations where it is open to the public, providing community reflection of their service and sacrifice.

History of the Heartland founder, Ayn Owens began negotiating to get the Memorial in Macon County late last summer. “I found it by accident while doing a google search and immediately wanted to bring it here to honor our fallen Heroes and their families.” The flag has only been displayed on the East Coast and at the Pentagon. It will be escorted by a disabled Veteran team from Richmond, VA. “Your town has definitely taken a heavy load. Truly appreciate their service and sacrifice as well as their families,” says James Howard, President of VAU.

Macon County currently has 3 dog tags on the memorial:

Our tags on flag-March 23, 2003, Marine Pvt. Jonathan Gifford, 30, Decatur

June 21, 2007 Army Spc Karen N Clifton, 22, Mt Zion

July 16, 2010 Army Sgt Jesse R Tilton, 23, Decatur

The Library will also host displays honoring the lives of these fallen and

August 23, 2017 US Navy Petty Officer Logan Palmer, 23, Harristown

(Logan is not currently on the Memorial)

Becky Damptz, Head of Archives and Special Collections will coordinate with the families for their displays to honor their loved one.

This Memorial was internally funded through VAU veterans, built by veteran/active duty volunteers and caring professionals from military families. From a 3yr old girl helping to place pavers to a boy scout earning his eagle badge, many great people came together to make it possible. Generous in-kind material donations, pro bono work and discounted prices were provided by many within the community.