A local man, Daniel Horrigan, lost his brother, MSG Robert Horrigan, in Iraq. When he died in Al Qaim on June 17, 2005, he was serving with Headquarters and Headquarters, United States Army Special Operations Command. Danny is building a memorial wall for the Fallen from the State of Texas in his yard here in Sunset Valley in Austin (view the news report here). He also carves figures of soldiers (not sure if they are "portraits" or not) and gives them to families of the Fallen. He expects to have his memorial wall completed by Veterans' Day 2010.
Daniel isn't the only one who remembers. An organization, Operation Honor Our Heroes, was inspired by MSG Horrigan. They tell his story:
Robert had completed three tours in Afghanistan and was completing his fifth and final tour in Iraq. Robert died in Al Qaim, Iraq, on June 17, 2005 with his comrades beside him after receiving mortal wounds during an early morning raid on known enemies of the United States. He was “the best of the best” serving his country while protecting everyone’s right to life and liberty. Every man dies, but not every man lives. Robert truly lived --- for family, for nation, and for the guys next to him. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved turkey and deer hunting, as well as fishing. He was an accomplished Bladesmith and his knives are cherished by many throughout the world. Robert was planning on retiring to Texas with his family after this deployment.
He also left behind family, including a wife, a daughter and his mother. He was had also earned many awards and decorations, including a Bronze Star with V device and an oak leaf cluster.
Phil Taylor, of the American Fallen Soldiers Project, has painted a portrait of Robert. This portrait was sponsored by Michael Rater of Frisco, TX. I highly recommend taking the time to watch the 12-minute documentary (at the link) about Robert and the portrait. Judging by what his family had to say, it wasn't just their loss when Robert was killed, but for all of us, as well. Where do we find such men?