WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — In front of a house in Westfield, there’s a sacred site that honors hundreds of Hoosier heroes.
“It was founded in 2001 by command Sgt. Donald Peed, who actually lived here,” said Westfield City Councilor Scott Willis.
On each plaque are the names of Indiana service members who fought and died during Operation Enduring Freedom, the war in the middle east that started after Sept. 11, 2001. Soon, Cpl. Humberto Sanchez from Logansport will have a stone to honor his legacy.
Sanchez was one of 13 American service members killed in the attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan in August.
“It’s significant because this will be the last one — we’re closing the memorial down. It will always be open to the public, but there will be no other service members added to this memorial,” said Willis.
Willis, who also goes by Col. Scott Willis, said the adding Sanchez to the memorial is devastating.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, and I know for those of us that have served overseas, especially the Marines I’m serving with now that went to Afghanistan, it’s left a real hole in their belly, quite frankly,” said Willis.
He didn’t know Sanchez, but from now on, Willis will make sure others do.
“They were trying to get him out of the gate. He refused to go because he knew there were some women and children in the area that were at risk. He knew there was a threat. He stayed, and you know what, he held his ground, and he paid the ultimate sacrifice and was able to save some lives. And, for that, I’m incredibly proud of him,” said Willis.
This weekend, he hopes to hear more of those stories. Even though the war is over, he’s confident Westfield will always remember.
“The community is just amazing. Westfield is just an amazing place to live, and people are rallying. I have a feeling it will be a really good turn out,” said Willis.
The dedication is happening Saturday at the memorial site on Union Street. The city will shut the street down at 1:30 p.m., and the event begins at 3 p.m. The public is invited to join.
Sanchez’s family has been invited, along with several other Gold Star Families.