And while plenty of photos capture the scene from the ground, Hausher got a different view — one that really puts things in perspective.
Hausher was in Forest Park this Tuesday even before 6 a.m. Volunteers with the non-profit he founded, St. Louis Military Officer Support Foundation, were among the fourteen teams erecting the flags for the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. Once the flags were planted with, well, military precision, the volunteers carefully draped the dog tags and photos, with each casualty in chronological order since September 11, 2001 up until just this week.
Then Hausher got out his drone. A DJI Inspire 1, it expertly captured a scene that isn't just a tribute to the military personnel who died. It's also a stunning visual of the loss of American life in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The experience on the ground is just as moving, Hausher says. "If you walk down and the wind is blowing, you hear the dog tags clinking on the metal poles," he says. "It seems very tranquil, until you realize each one represents a person. It's tough to a keep a dry eye."
Hausher's organization provides free training for service members and those about to enter the service, with courses in everything from fitness to marksmanship. As a result, he's gotten to know many kids heading to West Point, and older service members too.
The nonprofit is one of four charities benefiting from the display on Art Hill. It's organized by America's Heartland Remembers, which sponsored similar installations for the fifth and tenth anniversary of the attacks. But this is the biggest, by far — instead of honoring those killed on 9/11, it includes more than twice as many flags to honor those killed in the U.S. subsequent military interventions.
"This means more to me personally," Hausher acknowledges. "These are people who signed up with the intent of going into harm's way. They knew what the risks were, but they signed up."
The flags will be on display on Art Hill through Sunday.
PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
The memorial contains a dog tag and photo of each soldier killed in the War on Terror.
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