War memorial comes to Gaffney, features several Upstate fallen heroes

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GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – A traveling national war memorial is now in Gaffney and is open to the public.

7 News learned the significance of the memorial to those here in our area.

“We’re here for the 5,000 plus who are on the wall,” Mike Fowlkes said.

A national war memorial called “Remembering our Fallen” made a stop in Gaffney and received a big welcome as it featured several soldiers from the Upstate.

“We’re just honored to have it here, and, of course, to have Chris–my nephew, his son, our family member–on the wall makes it even more special,” Mike Fowlkes said.

Christopher Fowlkes was a 20-year-old marine when he was injured in an explosion in Afghanistan back in September of 2009. He died from his injuries on September 10 of that year.

His picture, along with thousands of others who died post-911, now tour the nation so that people can honor their service and their sacrifice.

“We’ll be having people come into Gaffney all weekend to pay tribute to family members or just to our service men and women who paid the ultimate price for America’s freedom,” the City’s Director of Marketing and Tourism LeighAnn Snuggs said.

“We haven’t had a draft since Vietnam, so all of the people on this wall volunteered to serve their country and, ultimately, gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country; and there’s no greater love than that,” Mike Fowlkes said.

The memorial was set up in Gaffney on Thursday, and Christopher Fowlkes’ family was able to hang his portion of the display while the national anthem was sung.

“This is cooler than I could’ve imagined,” Snuggs said. “We are absolutely honored and blessed.”

The Fowlkes family, along with several others who came from across the state, said the memorial meant the world to them.

“I just hope everybody comes out and enjoys what these people have done for their freedoms,” Christopher Fowlkes’ father Steve Fowlkes said.

The exhibit will only be in Gaffney for the weekend. It will be open to the public Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. until about 9 p.m. It will open at the same time on Sunday, but will close a little earlier at 6 p.m.

Organizers told 7 News that Gaffney is the only city in the southeast to be a part of the national tour of this special war memorial.

More than 100 motorcyclists and police escorted the memorial into town Wednesday night.

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