We have two great hauler teams traveling all over the country, bringing hot dogs and the ability to explore a NASCAR racecar to our friends and fans. We love to talk about their wonderful exploits, but there is also another truck that R+L Carriers is very proud to support. It hauls the memories of twenty three Marines from the Lima Company who were killed in action while serving in Iraq. It is the Eyes of Freedom Memorial, a traveling tribute to the sacrifices this young group made while serving our country.
Follow the Eyes of Freedom
Mike Strahle, director of the project, and his team has been very busy all summer long, spreading the word about the Memorial and sharing the paintings with people across the country. This summer’s journey began in May at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX, where Impact a Hero held their 9th Annual IAH Weekend. They brought over fifty heroes who had been wounded from across the country to the event. They came for a gala dinner, 5K event, and golf, and were able to experience the memorial with Mike there sharing his mission with all of the heroes.
Traveling through Ohio
The Memorial was a little closer to home a few weeks later, visiting the Field of Heroes events during Memorial Day weekend in Westerville, OH. With over 3,000 flags waving in the breeze to represent fallen Marines, people were bused in to see the paintings and share their own stories. There were also readings of all the fallen Marines represented by the flags and military concerts.
It is not just the big events that bring Mike and his dedicated team out to tour the country. The Memorial travels to smaller gatherings as well, such as an event at Jardine Funeral Home in Strongsville, OH. They were greeted by veterans of wars going back to World War 2 and given a hero’s escort in and out of the city. The next stop on their journey was a hometown visit to the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride. The Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial honors all those born in Ohio who have lost their lives during the War on Terrorism, a memorial that includes many of the Marines in the Lima Company. The weather was a little damp, but it did not stop hundreds of people from coming out and paying their respects.
Columbus, OH was also the home of the memorial on July 4th for the Columbus Square Fourth of July Auto Show. The trailer was part of the Fourth of July parade during the event, and led everyone to the car show where the paintings were on display as the center
Two events happening at the same time presented some logistical challenges for the memorial, but Mike was able to work out a solution so the Marine portraits could be in two places at the same time! In Johnstown, OH, the Eyes of Freedom Memorial’s outdoor displays were used at the Johnstown Community Sportsman’s Club. The paintings were on display along with the traveling Vietnam Wall exhibit, allowing many people to experience both powerful exhibits. At the same time, the paintings were on display at the Franklin County Fair, where nearly everyone who visited the fair came by to see the Memorial in person. Some people at the Fourth of July parade they were a part of even came down to the fair to see the memorial again!
The Memorial Travels West
The summer ended with a road trip out west. Their first stop was in the capital of the great state of Montana, Helena. There are a few members of the Company that hail from Montana, and they were thrilled to connect with Mike and to see the Memorial of their family members and friends. There was also a new knife debuted in Montana! It was made by Lima Marine Travis Williams, and interwoven into the handle are nametapes taken from fallen Lima Marines. The Memorial then traveled from Helena to Salem, the capital of the great state of Oregon. Three state capitals down, forty seven to go! We were located in the beautiful Galleria in the building, where many people were able to come and see the traveling exhibit. More of the Lima Company’s family members were able to see the portrait of their brothers. Moments like the ones in Helena and Salem motivate the crew to keep the exhibit going from state to state and visible to as many people as possible.
Support the Eyes of Freedom
Spreading the message of the Eyes of Freedom Memorial is not just done by Mike and his team, though they are the ones moving it from site to site. All of the people who come to the events and share the message of the Lima Company also help them. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Visit the Memorial in person
- Like the Lima Company on Facebook
- Subscribe to their You Tube channel and Share their stories
- Donate to the cause
- Purchase the Lima Company Memorial Remembrance Book
The Eyes of Freedom: The Lima Company Memorial has had a busy summer, but they have many events planned in the fall so people can see for themselves this great labor of love.