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Local Group Needs Community Help to Unveil Traveling Veteran Memorial

EYES OF FREEDOM.jpg

Two years after the Eyes of Freedom project came through Lewiston, the creator of the military memorial finished her latest art piece. Now she wants to unveil it right here.

In 2016, Sharon Ledbetter of Lewis Clark Quilts of Valor asked to host the Eyes of Freedom memorial, a series of eight life size portraits of 23 soldiers killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The piece made its Idaho debut in November 2016.

Ledbetter says, "The pictures keep their memories alive and remind us of the cost of freedom. There's healing that takes place."

Then this past August, the artist, Anita Miller, reached out to Sharon with a huge honor for LC Valley and its veterans.

"They are overjoyed right now that this is coming back and that we have been asked to be the ones to unveil "Silent Battle," Ledbetter says.

"Silent Battle" is Anita Miller's latest work..a bronze statue of a grieving soldier inspired by combat veteran Brian Zimmerman and the battle many veterans face with post-traumatic stress and suicide. Ledbetter explains that when Miller met Zimmerman, the artist knew her next piece had to capture, "What it was like to be in that position, to come home, these overwhelming feelings of despair."

Through this art piece, they hope to provide awareness and emotional support for veterans living with post traumatic stress. The statue is set to be unveiled in Lewiston next month before touring the country. Ledbetter says, "The number of veteran suicides we've had in our valley alone...this is meaning a lot to them."

But Sharon wants this year to be bigger than before - and there's not much time. "We gave ourselves one year the last time to pull it together. This time we're short. We're six months," she says.

With the project slated to arrive in Lewiston on March 2nd, Sharon says they need the community's help. They're asking for donations to cover site expenses and advertising to generate support, so we can say thank you like only the valley can. "Our hope is that we can get enough people to fill the bridge that they will have a truly grand entrance."

"Silent Battle" will travel into Lewiston on Friday, March 2nd at 3 P.M. The memorial will stand at the Red Lion Hotel through the weekend before it moves on to California.

If you'd like to help this great cause, you can donate by check to Idaho's Suicide Prevention Action Network. Checks can be made out to SPAN Idaho Region 2 at P.O. box 2241 in Lewiston.

Make sure to indicate the donation is for Eyes of Freedom in the memo line.

If you'd like to donate online, check out spanidaho.org and click on donate; be sure to note Eyes of Freedom in the instructions.

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