Arkansas Fallen Heroes Memorial in Maumelle
MAUMELLE (KATV)--For many today is the kick-off to a three day weekend and the grilling season, but we shouldn't forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. It's to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom. Usually we see a wall with names, but this memorial not only features names with a flag, but a picture to go with every fallen hero's story. 120 flags, 120 posts with picture, Arkansas' fallen heroes are remembered and it all started with Rob Hopper. "In January 2005, my youngest son was killed in Iraq," said Hopper. Whether killed overseas, or they died here in Arkansas, Hopper knew he wanted a memorial where our fallen heroes would not be forgotten like his son, Marine Lance Corporal Brian Chase Hopper. "Somebody gave me this crazy little angel, and put it on top of Brian's and you'll see some different things in the flag field that people left and we try to keep those things with their pictures and everything," added Hopper. Flag after flag, post after post, a face with a name, it takes up to six hours to set up this memorial. It doesn't just happen once a year, this flag field travels all over the state all year round. "Losing my son was hard, but my son told me before he left for Iraq that he was proud of what he was doing and what he'd become, and why he was doing it," said Hopper. "So I can't be nothing but proud for him and out of pride I did this for him." After nearly a decade, Hopper says he physically cannot keep going, but this memorial is not coming to a stop, it's simply being handed off to a veteran. "This is my brother and sisters in arms for 23 years I wore the uniform, and I realize that without them we wouldn't be here today, and they're not here so why not recognize them.," said Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, Bubba Beason. The Arkansas Fallen Heroes Memorial will be set up through Monday at Lake Willastein in Maumelle.