Remembering Our Fallen

A tribute to fallen soldiers reminds Americans to be grateful for what we have today.


Eleanor Prekker, Staff Writer

“Man does not die until he is forgotten.” That is the philosophy of Patriotic Productions, a non-profit organization founded by Bill and Evonne Williams to remember veterans who died in service of our country.

“Remembering Our Fallen” is a traveling exhibit which rotates between different venues, including our school, where it has previously been hosted several times. It specifically focuses on veterans who lost their lives after 9/11, and there is a different exhibit for every state. In our exhibit, all of the veterans are from Nebraska. Two of them graduated from PLHS, Mark Woziska and Joel Kayhill, and three more are from Papillion or La Vista.

“Remember that the veterans that are on the exhibit are real people. They have family, they have loved ones, they have connections to our community,” John Hubert, assistant principal, said. “It might be easier for us to forget them, but their families and their loved ones never will.”

One veteran with a connection to our community is Shane Kielion, who was the quarterback for Omaha South High when Mr. Jay Ball was the coach. Kielion was deployed to Fallujah, a city in Iraq.

“That’s an urban center, and they were basically going house-to-house to root out the enemy,” Ball said. “He was really proud that he was gonna have his first child, but on November 15th, 2004, he was shot right in the neck by a sniper. 90 minutes later, his son was born, so he never got to know that.”

For all of the soldiers who sacrificed themselves in battle, there is also a family they left behind. This year, freshmen and some sophomores got to visit the exhibit and write a few positive words which would be sent to the families. As well as reassuring the families, this had the added benefit of broadening students’ perspectives.

“I want them to be able to reflect on things they take for granted. At 14, your worldview is not very wide,” Ball said. “It’s important to understand that here in this country, it’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good place. There’s a lot of things that we have here that they don’t have in a lot of other places in terms of the freedoms that we enjoy.”

Even after the exhibit has gone, we must always remember the fallen and express our gratitude for their service to our country. 

“In the end, I think it’s important for all of us, adults and young people, to remember that freedom isn’t free,” Hubert said. “People have paid a sacrifice for us to be able to live the way we want to live.”