Fishers remembers its fallen heroes


By Eric Kuznar

A group of Fishers residents chose to begin its Memorial Day holiday by attending a gathering on the Central Green the morning of May 30.

Several speakers paid their respects, including keynote speaker Talyor Downing, Mayor Scott Fadness, retired U.S. Navy Commander El Ahlwardt, retired U.S. Air Cop. Rev. Wayne Caldwell and Public Safety Chaplin Gary Stump. The Indiana Heartland Brass Quintet provided the music.

For Downing, 20, Memorial Day has special significance.

Her father, Ammunition Specialist Stephen Downing, was shot and killed in 2004 by an enemy sniper in Iraq.

Downing, who is going into her junior year at Indiana State University and volunteers with military families who suffer loss, recounted the day her life changed.

“I remember running out of the house and running into the yard … throwing myself on the ground and yelling towards the sky,” she said. “All I could know and all I could think about was why.”

While Downing talked about the pain and loss, she also spoke of acceptance and coping.

“I wish every day that my dad was here with my family and I,” Downing said. “But I know that he would never regret the decision of going over to help the people that needed it.”

Mayor Fadness thanked both those who served and those who came to the ceremony.

“I stand in the shadows of the honorable men and women who have fallen to provide me the opportunity to serve as your mayor here in Fishers,” Fadness said. “I encourage each and every one of you today to think about what is the fullest measure of devotion … to pay honor and homage to those individuals who have sacrificed so much.”

Fishers citizens interested in honoring fallen heroes in their lives can purchase engraved bricks, which will become part of the Liberty Plaza walkway. For more, visit