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Memorial for fallen military personnel dedicated at Capitol

koehler xmastreeSPRINGFIELD – A memorial remembering fallen soldiers and their families was dedicated at the Illinois State Capitol this week. The memorial is sponsored by America’s Gold Star Families, an organization that helps the families of fallen servicemen and women.

The Tree of Honor, located just east of the rotunda, is decorated with ornaments bearing the names and pictures of members of the military from every branch who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) spoke at the dedication, stressing the need to never forget the sacrifices our military families make.

“We can never truly appreciate what their families have experienced and given to our nation,” Koehler said. “But that does not mean we should not try.We can and we must find ways to honor the memory of the fallen.”

Koehler also spoke of the love that brings every corner of Illinois together.

“From the neighborhoods of Chicago to the deepest stretches of Southern Illinois, our love for our country bonds us together regardless of race, religion or creed,” Koehler said in his address. “The members of the armed forces honored on this tree demonstrated the purest form of that love for country by giving what President Lincoln called their ‘last full measure of devotion.’”

The tree was decorated by military families with ornaments commemorating fallen soldiers from every conflict all the way back to the Civil War. It will remain up at the capitol through the holiday season.

Sen. David Koehler

Assistant Majority Leader
46th District

Years served:
Appointed December 2006; Elected 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Education; Environment and Conservation (Vice-Chairperson); Labor; Local Government; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Born and raised in South Dakota, moved to Peoria in 1978; B.A., Yankton College, 1971; M.A. in divinity, United Theological Seminary, 1974; staff member, National Farm Worker Ministry; community organizer and program manager, Peoria Friendship House; executive director, Peoria Area Labor Management Council; president, Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs Inc.; Peoria County Board member, 1982-88; Peoria City Council member, 1989-97 (mayor pro tem, 1993-94); first elected to Senate in 2006; married with three daughters, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.

Associated Representatives:
Jehan Gordon-Booth
Michael D. Unes