Utah natives lead crusade for national soldier memorial

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SALT LAKE CITY - A foundation with Utah ties plans to build an American Fallen Warrior Memorial in Kansas in the coming years. Monday, they saluted Utah's fallen heroes and their families in a ceremony at the Capitol.

Two women who grew up in Utah are raising money and raising interest for a national memorial for the fallen heroes of the Gulf War from the 1990s and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation, based in Kansas, put on a patriotic tribute Monday in the Capitol Rotunda. They want to make sure Americans never forget the sacrifices of this generation of fighting men and women.

It's been over 20 years since these men and women have been given the honor they deserve.

–Tonya Evans

It was a tribute to the Gold Star Families of Utah, and the loved ones they lost in combat.

Tonya Evans, a Utah native, is spearheading an ambitious effort to build a $30-million memorial that she envisions as the largest of its kind in the U.S.

She's raising funds across the country to make the project a reality before too many years pass.

"It's been over 20 years since these men and women have been given the honor they deserve," she said. "It took 60 years to build the World War II Memorial, and here we are 20 years later since the Gulf War. We still have not given these men and women the national honor they deserve."

These Gold Star families have bonded and offer each other tremendous support, even though they've never met each others' sons.

The families stress that there are more than 100 Gold Star families here in Utah, and thousands more across the country that will be honored by the memorial.


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