The exhibit, which began in May 2006 as a way to remember Illinois soldiers who had lost their lives in battle since the terror attacks of September 11 is a somber event. It started with just one pencil drawn portrait but has now grown to include more than 200 fallen soldiers.
"As we observe the anniversary of one of America’s darkest days, we must remember those who have given their lives to protect our country and the debt we owe them that can never be repaid,” Quinn said. “I am proud today to stand with some of Illinois’ true heroes – our Gold Star families – as we honor the sacrifice they and their loved ones have made."
Starting today, the exhibit will be on display at Chicago’s Navy Pier, the Peoria Public Library’s Lakeview Branch, the Six Mile Regional Library District’s Main Library in Granite City, and inside Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The exhibits will be on display at these locations until Sept. 16.
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.
Quinn attended the first event in 2006.
For more information on Portrait of a Soldier, visit www.OperationHomefront.org. With more than 17 million hits, it’s one of the country’s most informative websites on supporting our troops.