Soldiers hugging family members. Young men and women standing tall in a black and white photograph. Men in women in uniforms and soldiers sitting next to a flag.
Those and other images flash across the screen as Dawn Fisher, of Fisher Funeral Chapel, collects photographs to create a tribute video honoring Cass County veterans.
And each photograph has a story, Fisher said.
Fisher wanted to share the stories of local veterans, she said, which in 2000 spurred her to create her first tribute video. It was shown at a fundraiser that year.
The fundraiser, held by Fisher Funeral Chapel, showed videos of World War II veterans from Cass County. In years after that, more videos were created for Korean and Vietnam War veterans in Cass County.
Fisher decided she wanted to expand the tribute video.
“I didn’t want to leave anyone out,” Fisher said. “It was so fascinating to hear everyone’s stories and I decided we need to preserve them.”
Fisher started collecting photographs for a sequel to the tribute video about three years ago. The sequel video can be seen at http://videos.lifetributes.com/168024#.
Fisher said she knew it was important to share the stories of veterans in Cass County.
“There are so many heroes out there that we don’t know because they don’t talk about it,” Fisher said.
In the years after, the original veteran tribute video has been played annually at the Cass County Rooster’s “Salute to the Armed Forces” Gala.
The photographs from the sequel tribute video can be seen on the Fisher Funeral Chapel Facebook at page under albums titled “Veterans Tribute Video Sequel Album 1 of 2” and “Veterans Tribute Video Sequel Album 2”
Fisher now has 450 photographs of WWII veterans, 250 of Korean War veterans and 200 from Vietnam veterans. The sequel video has more than 500 pictures of veterans. Her goal is to transfer all the photos from the first video so people can view and enjoy them.
Over the years of people bringing in photographs, Fisher has heard some memorable stories. She recalls a man coming in to the funeral home and opening a box of what he thought would be photographs of his father. They opened the box together and found a telegram telling his mother his father had died.
“With so many pictures, I have been overwhelmed with stories,” Fisher said.
One of the reasons she is passionate about veterans is because her father served in the Korean War. He died when Fisher was a senior in high school.
“I never got to ask him his memories of being in Korea when he was 18 years old, just out of high school,” Fisher.
The most important thing for Fisher, besides hearing stories, is putting a face to each veteran’s name.
“I want history to have a face so that the kids growing up know these wars and their freedom are related and have a price,” Fisher said.
She also wants people to take notice of the people putting their life on the line.
“Some [veterans] didn’t come back and some did come back, but didn’t come back whole,” Fisher said. “We need to thank them while they’re living. It means so much to know that people remember.”
In the future, Fisher hopes that a veterans park is built in Cass County. If one is built, she would like to see a kiosk and an encased computer on display to allow people to interact and view photos she has collected.
As photographs come in, they are added to the video tribute. If anyone is interested in submitting photos, they can be sent to Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org as a JPEG file. The file should include the veteran’s name any additional information that can be added to Facebook.
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or email@example.com. Follow her: @PharosAES.
A tribute to veterans: View the Cass County veterans tribute video at http://videos.lifetributes.com/168024# View photographs from the video on the Fisher Funeral Chapel Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fisherfuneralchapel Have your photos added to the video by emailling photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 574-753-6301 with questions