Memorial in Ripon honors fallen CA service members

Local News

RIPON, Calif. (KTXL) — A memorial that honors heroes from California who lost their lives in overseas conflicts following Sept. 11 is in Ripon for the weekend. Nearly 800 names and photos are on display.

Unfortunately, four new names have been added to the exhibit, those of the Marines from California who recently died during the evacuation mission in Afghanistan.

Michael Dillman is a Vietnam War veteran who oversees the traveling memorial for the Not Forgotten Foundation.

“We have lost 7,200 since 911 from across the nation, Dillman said. “We love them all, but these are the ones that we call the heroes in our own backyard.”

They are gone but not forgotten.

“And that is a loss that we can never repay,” Dillman said. “When I walk around here, it breaks my heart. And I see nothing but possibilities ended — dreams shattered.

Row after row are the faces of those who gave their all in-service to their country.

“A soldier is never forgotten until we forget their name,” Dillman said. “So that’s why we bring their photo, or picture, and their name face-to-face with the people.”

From Redding to San Diego, veterans from across California — including 72 from the Central Valley — are honored.

“I never get tired of seeing the names, but I never recover from the heaviness of doing this,” Dillman said.

While this is a way to honor those who are no longer here, Dillman said he also hopes it sends a message to the veterans still with us.

“No matter what happens, no matter the way the war ends that you were a part of it, and in no way, no way does it have anything to do with your service,” he said.

The memorial will only be in Ripon for the weekend and is open to the public both Saturday and Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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