Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Ahwatukee will be hosting a special event, entitled “Remembering Our Fallen,” honoring the Arizona soldiers who gave their lives serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan war.
The photo memorial will be in the church’s Parish Center Sept. 7-15, with hours changing depending on the day.
The exhibit is a photo memorial honoring the 144 Arizona soldiers who lost their lives in the war. It has traveled throughout the state of Arizona for the last past year.
Doug Clithero, who manages the photo exhibit, said it pays tribute to the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The origin of the exhibit came about by Clithero’s cousin who overheard a military wife sharing her concerns about her husband’s memory being forgotten.
The exhibit began in Nebraska, and slowly ventured into different areas in the country.
The goal for the “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit is to have one in every state, making sure the memories of fallen soldiers will be honored and never forgotten.
As of right now there are 11 other photo exhibits in different states paying tribute to soldiers who have lost their lives.
Clithero said the exhibit can be a heartbreaking experience to witness, especially for the families who have loved one’s being honored.
He spoke about a time when the exhibit was in Scottsdale a family spent hours standing in front of the picture of their loved ones.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this and for people to come here to pay their respect and reflect, that’s what it’s all about,” Clithero said.
“It’s for the families and it also tells people that they gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”
Clithero’s decision to bring the memorial exhibit to Ahwatukee came about when he was visiting the Corpus Christi Catholic Church Parish Center and noticed a photo of Ahwatukee resident Mykel Miller hanging from the wall.
Clithero said the exhibit is dedicated to the Miller family, paying tribute for the sacrifice he gave to his country.
“When I saw that I immediately recognized it as the same photo in our display. I decided that it needed to come here,” Clithero said.
After he saw the photo of Miller, Clithero spoke with Father Albert Hoorman, who coincidentally officiated Miller’s funeral services.
Miller, who graduated from Desert Vista High in 2007, was killed in active duty while in service.
The Ahwatukee Foothills resident was deployed in March of 2007 serving in the Army National Guard, but tragically only served for six months before being killed.
His mother, Maria, was fortunate to speak with her son two days before he was sent out on the mission that took his life.
She said her son was the youngest member of his platoon at 19 years old.
“He did what he wanted to do, and my peace comes from my faith knowing that my son is in heaven,” Maria said.
Hoorman said many of the people who attend church at Corpus Christi are veterans and the area surrounding the church is extremely patriotic.
He believes the exhibit will see a high volume of people wanting to pay their respects to the soldiers who gave their lives serving in the military.
“This is a very patriotic parish,” Hoorman said.
Hoorman and Maria both said the funeral for Mykel was an amazing site to witness with the whole church being filled with people paying their last respect for their beloved soldier.
“I’m very grateful for Father Hoorman for never forgetting my son,” Maria said.
For more information on the “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit, visit www.rememberingourfallen.org.
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