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Banner At County Building Honors Local War Casualty

October 12th, 2021

A banner at the front entrance of the F. W. Gunzburger County Office Building memorializes U.S. Army Specialist Mike Franklin, who lost his life in the Global War on Terrorism. It was originally hung in downtown Harrisburg, through a partnership of a local civic organization and the American Gold Star Mothers. The banner was donated to the county by SPC Franklin’s parents, Tina and Bill Franklin, when they moved to Arizona.

More than 16 years have passed since the Coudersport soldier lost his life when an improvised explosive device detonated near his screening area in Ramadi, Iraq. SPC Franklin, who was a month shy of his 23rd birthday, was not scheduled to be on duty during that shift on March 7, 2005. But he unselfishly agreed to stand in to help a friend. The checkpoint he was patrolling was established to trap guerrilla fighters through a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Similar operations were taking place in other towns in western Iraq, which was seeing heavy guerrilla fighting. A car had stalled and couldn’t be restarted. Just as Franklin and another soldier were about to begin searching the vehicle, the bomb was detonated by a remote-control device.

After her son’s death, Tina Franklin became involved with the work of Gold Star Mothers, an organization of those who have lost a son or daughter in battle. She has made multiple trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to visit injured service members. Tina and Bill Franklin suggest that those wishing to honor military personnel who have fallen in war consider service to others through community organizations, churches or government agencies.

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