Eyes of Freedom Memorial arrives at Hereford


Bikers for a Cause group lines up as the Eyes of Freedom opening ceremony prepares to start.

Evan English, Reporter

This Memorial Day, the Eyes of Freedom event came to Hereford High School in honor of Hereford High School 2002 graduates and best friends Norman (Wally) Anderson III and Joshua (Josh) Snyder. Both heroes passed away from different circumstances while honorably serving their country in Iraq.

The Eyes of Freedom event was organized by organizations including the Hope and Peace Foundation, Hereford High School’s For Our Troops club, Our Neighbors Foundation, L+R Carriers, Bikers for a Cause, Lima Company Memorial, and many generous sponsors that made this event possible.

The event kicked off with an opening ceremony crowded with students, staff, and veterans. Three veterans held up the United States flag, Prisoners of War/Missing in Action flag, and New Freedom Veterans of Foreign War flag entering and exiting in a procession followed by a bagpipe. After this, several people gave a speech, including Principal Covert and gold star mother Mrs. Robyn Anderson spoke. The gold star is given to those who have lost a family member that served our nation at the time of death. The event ended as the Bikers for a Cause group began their travel nationwide on May 24th.

This event featured the 9-11 Rolling Memorial. This portable memorial’s bell was made by the McShane Bell Foundry in 1918. This company is the oldest church bell maker in the United States; dating back to 1856. The bell was later repurposed as part of the 9-11 rolling memorial on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. The bell holds a variety of information to respect those who have passed away, with a total of 158 names written down, 69 Marylanders passed in 9/11, 92 Marylanders who passed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and 65 Marylanders who passed during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Veterans, bikers, and citizens alike gathered to commemorate those whom we have lost in the fields of war and from terrorist attacks. While the Eyes of Freedom was in memory of that which we have lost, it also reminds us of our country’s ability to get back on our feet when holding a common interest.

Those stories of survival and compassion and things like that are the stories not of the evil that we witnessed but of the good of the best of humanity that came out of it,” Hope and Peace Foundation co-founder, Chuck Ritz said. “And hopefully we don’t need another 9/11 scene to unite us as a country again.

From May 24th-29th, The Hereford auditorium held an open museum holding the main event in the Eyes of Freedom memorial to further honor a few of the soldiers who have passed including the seven Hereford raised heroes who have passed and a special tribute section for Wally and Josh. The auditorium stage held eight paintings portraying twenty-three of the Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have passed while serving in the Lima Company Marine Regiment in Iraq 2005. The memorial site also held a bronze Sculpture titled “Silent Battle”. This statue showcased a life-sized scared soldier, while the statue is flooded with dog tags signed by fellow veterans and students paying respect. All of these were delicately crafted by artist Anita Miller. The combined effort of the Our Troops Club and Eyes of Freedom organizers monitored hosted this museum after school hours.

“It’s called the Eyes of Freedom because if you look in those marines’ eyes it’s just humbling,” ‘For Our Troops’ club co-coordinator Mr. William Halagarda said. “It’s very important because of the youth, the young people don’t have a perspective on how much sacrifice went into where we live in the United States.”

The Eyes of Freedom event reminded us to not only remember those who have made sacrifices but also to remember why they made these sacrifices.