LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Healing Field in Lawrenceburg is a site of remembrance and healing.
Located off West Broadway Street, it's a place where Kentuckians who made the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Terrorism are memorialized for their heroism.
120 American flags represent each of the 120 Kentuckians who have fallen.
One of the flags belongs to Air Force Captain Matthew Roland.
His father, retired Air Force Colonel, Mark Roland, visits Matthew's flag as often as he can.
"I miss him every day," Mark said.
Matthew was a Lexington Catholic High School and U.S. Air Force Academy graduate.
He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2015. He was leading a convoy back to base when two men started shooting at them at a checkpoint.
"Matthew saw what was happening, warned the convoy, put himself in the line of fire, and swung the bus around so that the Green Beret on the bus could take out the two aggressors, but in the process, he was killed," Mark said.
He said one other soldier was killed as well, but everyone else in the convoy survived. Matthew was awarded a Silver Star for his heroism.
He was also awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
"He was a patriot," Mark said. "He believed in what he was doing."
The American Legion Post 34 maintains the memorial, which was unveiled in 2007.
"It's just a good thing that everybody ought to at least come see," American Legion Post 34 Adjutant and Healing Field Committee member, Josh Turner, said.
It's a place where the memories of these soldiers will live on forever.
"It is said that a person dies twice," Mark said. "Once when they take their last breath and a second time when their name is no longer spoken. Their names here will always be spoken."
It is their fervent hope that no other names are added to the list and not a single new flag is hoisted here so that no other family has to endure the immense loss.
Post 34 hosts events to raise funds for maintaining the memorial, including a motorcycle ride. The next ride will likely be in September 2022.