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Cedar Falls VFW post honors fallen veterans with banners along bridge

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - 5/24/2024

May 24—CEDAR FALLS — Those passing over the Robert J. Hibbs Memorial Bridge this summer will see a number of banners honoring fallen veterans from the Cedar Valley.

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post named in Hibbs' honor placed the banners on Thursday to help to ensure their comrades' service is recognized. The Main Street bridge crosses the Cedar River north of First Street/Iowa Highway 57.

It's the culmination "of several months of preparation," said Terry Stewart, a member of the Robert J. Hibbs VFW Post 3896. He was joined by other post members Tim Eich, Jerry Rasmussen and Henry Krof in placing the banners. They are similar to banners placed in communities like neighboring Waterloo.

"We'd seen banners that were up and we thought we could do something like that over here to honor Robert J. Hibbs," said Stewart.

Hibbs was a Cedar Falls native and graduate of what is now the University of Northern Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was killed in combat on March 5, 1966. For his acts of courage and bravery, Hibbs was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom.

On Veterans Day in 1997, Cedar Falls' newly opened Main Street bridge was dedicated to Hibbs.

But Hibbs isn't the only veteran that the banners honor. The VFW members decorated a number of bridge posts to remember area veterans' dedication and service.

"This is a way to honor the folks who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to ensure that our country is free," said Krof. "Freedom isn't free, and it takes sacrifice — and we're honoring their service."

The VFW post recognizes veterans in a number of ways, working with different organizations in the Cedar Valley to assist them.

"We'll help veterans install ramps for their homes, help them find housing if they need it," said Eich. "I mean, we do whatever we can for them."

"And if we can't do it, we know someone who can," Krof added.

The VFW post can be found via Facebook at Robert J. Hibbs VFW Post 3896.

"I'm sure there's many veterans of foreign wars in the Cedar Valley who are eligible to join and we're always looking for new members," said Stewart. "The more the merrier!"

The banners that now adorn the Robert J. Hibbs Memorial Bridge will remain up until Veteran's Day in November.

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(c)2024 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

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