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Kansas City foundation plans virtual Global War on Terror memorial for fallen service members

american fallen warrior.jpg
Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 07:43:30-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new memorial for American military members killed in the Global War on Terror will become virtual instead of being housed in a Kansas City, Kansas, museum.

The American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation announced it is no longer pursuing a large, physical memorial and museum. While the nonprofit hopes to have some amount of a physical presence in the area, the majority of its information will now be online and accessible worldwide.

“The bottom line is, in reality, it's more practical in many respects,” Jack Rush, executive director of the foundation, said.

The organization’s goal is to honor the 8,000 and counting servicemen and women who have died while fighting terrorism, beginning with the Americans killed in the 1983 Beirut bombing.

“It’s history, and we need to learn from it,” Rush said.

Dale Duncan, an Olathe architect who lost a son in the Global War on Terror, supports the idea. His son, Spencer, an Army reservist, died in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan. The U.S. said Taliban insurgents shot down the Chinook helicopter in which he and 30 other Americans were riding. They all died.

“I got to the door and looked out the peephole, and there were the two uniformed officers standing outside the door, and I immediately knew," Duncan said of the moment he learned of Spencer's death. "I turned and looked at my wife, and she collapsed."

Over the past 10 years, Duncan has kept Spencer’s legacy alive through the Spencer C. Duncan Make it Count Foundation, which raises money to help veterans with educational opportunities and to manage post-traumatic stress disorder.

Duncan's work in the veteran community earned this Gold Star Father a spot on the advisory board for the American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation.

“It was exciting to me to be able to kind of be involved in a way we could bring some honor and remembrance to these fallen warriors,” Duncan said.

He looks forward to May 2022, when the foundation expects to roll out at least part of the virtual memorial. Duncan said he appreciates the memorial's interactive components, which will allow family members to add biographical information and pictures to their profile. The memorial might even give families an opportunity to write messages to their fallen warriors.

“To have that as a memorial and to really to get that picture of these heroes is a pretty amazing idea,” Duncan said. “I think it’ll be fabulous.”

To learn more about the foundation’s goals and to contribute to its mission, visit the organization’s website.