'Remembering Our Fallen' coming to Valparaiso American Legion

The Remember Our Fallen display is coming to Valparaiso on Saturday. It is currently on display in Hobart.

CROWN POINT — The War on Terror, which began in earnest following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, goes on, and now a traveling memorial has been created to make sure the victims of that war are not forgotten.

"Remembering Our Fallen" is a memorial to the men and women who have died in the fight against terror since 9/11. It was created by Bill and Evonne Williams, of Omaha, originally to honor only Nebraskans, but the Williamses expanded the mission to create memorials for each state by next year.

The Indiana memorial is making several appearances in the Region this year starting in DeMotte at the American Legion Post 440. It will be at the First United Methodist Church in Crown Point, 352 S. Main St., for a week beginning Oct. 26 and at the Army National Guard Armory in Hammond, 2530 173rd St., the following week.

The memorial features a 50-foot display of pictures of those who have died as a result of the war. One of those was Spc. Nicholas Idalski, of Crown Point. City Councilman Scott Evorik said Idalski was killed by a sniper on June 21, 2005, in Ramadi, Iraq. Evorik said Idalski's brother Steve was his best friend from high school, and he got to know the whole family.

"I heard about the memorial from his mother," Evorik said. "She emailed me and asked if I could get it to come to Crown Point. That day I started making calls and within a week had arranged for it to be at the church."

Of Nicholas Idalski he said, "He was so hard-headed. Every time there was a volunteer position to storm a house in Iraq, he would take it. He wanted to do the hardest thing possible. He was a warrior at heart. You give him a challenge, and he would take it."

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Shortly before his death, Idalski wrote his mother Kim Greenberg, "Life goes on and I fight the good fight. Head down, eyes peeled and trigger ready. God Bless us all, specially the Infantry. Tomorrow is always a better day. Love and miss you."

The Rev. Mark Wilkins said hosting the memorial fits right in with the church's "Operation: Salute," a project to raise money and awareness for disabled veterans in Northwest Indiana.

"We are rolling a number of things we do into one project, and this will be part of it," Wilkins said. "We are working with the Northwest Indiana Veterans Action Council. In October, we will be handing out close to 2,000 green light bulbs for people to burn in their windows during veterans' days as a thank-you to veterans. There's no charge for the bulbs. People can just come in and get them."

The church also has an annual Halloween Feast of Screams dinner, dance and silent auction with the proceeds going to disabled veterans. At 10:30 a.m. Nov. 5, the church will hold a rally at the Lake County Fairgrounds in the Industrial Building as another way of saying thanks to veterans. Veterans and the community are invited to attend.

"Operation: Salute" ends Nov. 6 with a thank-you service at the church followed by a football game featuring the church's Monsters of Main Street team against the NIPSCO NIVETS at the Junior Bulldog field at the city's Sportsplex. YThe money raised from the game will go to help disabled veterans.

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