LOUISVILLE, Ohio — On Friday, Secretary of State Frank LaRose will speak at one of the final stops for the traveling 'Ohio Flags of Honor Memorial' in Louisville.
The display of more than 900 flags, with surrounding events, honors military members who were killed in action during the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the War on Terrorism, along with their families.
The memorial will be open to the public beginning Friday at 6 p.m. through Sunday at 2 p.m., at Barleys Event Center on Easton Street Northeast, with LaRose speaking on Friday evening following a dinner reception for Gold Star families (the immediate family member(s) of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict).
After 16 years, this year will be the final year for the flags tour around the state of Ohio.
The traveling memorial started in May of 2004. That's when Gino and Lisa Zimmer, parents of Specialist Nicholaus E. Zimmer, U.S. Army, were notified on Memorial Day that their son had been killed in Kufa, Iraq.
Watch a previous 'Ohio Flags of Honor Memorial' ceremony in the player below:
What started as a tour with a single tribute motorcycle morphed in the next year into a stationary flag display at Rickenbacker Field, south of Columbus.
The original display was put in place in September of 2005 to honor the U.S. Marines from Lima Company 3rd Battalion/25th Regiment who were returning from an eight-month assignment in Iraq, where 16 of 22 service members killed in action were Ohio Marines.
"These 'Flags of Honor' were to be flown in honor of their comrades who were not returning with them, along with dozens of 'tribute' flags, sponsored by Ohio veteran organizations, displayed separately," the organization's website reads
The original display was so well-received that the next month, plans were put in place for the memorial to tour the Buckeye state.
"The traveling display is a way for the Memorial to help facilitate fellowship for families, friends, and communities who want to pay tribute to Ohio’s fallen soldiers. Through our display we hope to also raise public awareness and support for Ohio’s returning veterans," the site explains.