OTTAWA – October 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Gold Star families to honor the sacrifices that Illinois servicemembers have made in the global war against terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001. Governor Quinn unveiled the Portrait of a Soldier Memorial exhibit today at Ottawa Township High School.
“The brave contributions that Illinois’ servicemembers have made in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be forgotten,” said Governor Quinn. “I am honored to stand with Illinois’ Gold Star families today and recognize the sacrifices these families have made for our state and country.”
The Portrait of a Soldier Memorial exhibit, which has been viewed by thousands of people throughout Illinois, is a series of hand-drawn portraits of more than 250 Illinois men and women who have died in service to our country since Sept. 11, 2001.
Artist Cameron Schilling of Mattoon drew the first portrait of a soldier in August 2004, after Army Spc. Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, was killed in Iraq. Schilling presented the portrait to Spc. Neely’s parents to convey his sympathy for their loss. In Oct. 2005, while a student at Eastern Illinois University, Schilling decided to draw a portrait of every Illinois servicemember who has fallen during the Global War on Terror.
Governor Quinn is encouraging Illinois residents to visit Ottawa Township High School to view the exhibit, where it will be on display through next week, and recognize the servicemen and servicewomen who have lost their lives fighting for freedom and democracy overseas.