Weston to host traveling exhibit dedicated to fallen soldiers, honor Farnan

Patrick Farnan wants to share his memories with others. It’s just that occasionally he doesn’t know what to say, what to show when speaking about the death of his son.With a little help from the City of Weston, Farnan has a week-long opportunity to display the legacy of Spc. Colby Farnan, who was killed Feb. 25, 2005 at the age of 22 in Taji, Iraq while serving in U.S. Army. Starting on Monday, July 13 through Sunday, July 19, Weston will house the traveling “Remembering Our Fallen” display at the Masonic Lodge on Main Street. In conjunction, the Weston Chamber of Commerce will have a display dedicated to Colby Farnan at its office with photos, awards, medals and even artwork dedicated to his memory.

“I felt it was time to share,” Patrick Farnan said. “We’ve kept it all but at the same time we have a few of the guys and friends of Colby’s and friends of ours that have seen the stuff. But not everyone has.

“We’re wanting to share some of those things. It’s just important for us.”

Colby Farnan is part of the Remembering Our Fallen exhibit, which is a war memorial dedicated to those killed in action since the September 11 attacks.

Started by Bellevue (Neb.) University in 2011, the project aims to create an individual display for each state that includes military and personal photos of those “who died from wounds suffered in the war zone while wearing our country’s uniform.” Missouri and Kansas are two of 22 completed exhibits, according to the group’s website, with hopes to have all 50 done by 2016 before putting them all together for a national tour.

Weston officials wanted to bring the exhibit to Weston corresponding with July 4 holiday but took the closest available open date.

Donations continue to be collected to pay for the cost of bringing the exhibit to town, which includes arrival on Sunday, July 12 and an opening ceremony planned for 10 a.m. on July 13. The city also used money collected to buy a new American flag for every downtown business to be displayed at least through Sunday, July 19.

“People are talking about this more than they are our Fourth of July stuff,” Weston chamber executive director Jennifer Toy said. “This just seems like it really touches our community.”

Patrick Farnan wanted to do something to honor the 10-year anniversary of Colby Farnan’s death, and this offered the perfect opportunity.

A 2000 West Platte graduate, Pfc. Colby Farnan was killed along with two others while serving with the 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery unit when an improvised explosion device detonated while they were on dismounted patrol. The Farnans have remained a fixture in the Weston community, and Patrick and DeeDee Farnan served as grand marshals for the town’s Fourth of July parade this past Saturday.

Recently retired, Patrick Farnan now substitute teaches in the West Platte School District and occasionally encounters the children of his son’s former classmates. He doesn’t often talk much about Colby Farnan when they mention a connection, often unsure of what or how much to say.

Patrick Farnan admits the emotions can build up, but he’s looking forward to this week-long chance to open up to anyone who wants to take a look about Colby Farnan’s life.

“It will always be hard. I want to be proud and I want to be honoring him and respecting him,” Patrick Farnan said. “It’s just as you talk about him, just like now, you get a tear in your eye, because, dang, he made me proud of who he is and who I am and what he did for his country.

“He wasn’t the only one who died. Colby didn’t always necessarily agree with the president or why he was going but it was his job and he knew that.”

The Remembering Our Fallen display will be in Platte County for the fifth time. Previously, it was displayed in Weston and at KCI Aiport in 2012, Parkville in 2013 and Zona Rosa in 2014.