Memorial to Tucker, Veterans Unveiled in Madras

Army Pfc. Thomas Tucker, brutally killed in Iraq, and all veterans were remembered and saluted Sunday as the Madras community unveiled a statue in their honor.


The inspiration came from Tucker, but the people behind the project say it's meant not only to honor him, but all those who have served our country.


The bronze statue of Tucker sits in Friendship Park in his hometown of Madras.


In 2006, Tucker and another soldier were kidnapped and killed by an Al-Qaeda group.


"When he joined the service, he found a second family," said Col. Todd Ebel, a leader of Tucker's. "And within the family, he absolutely executed his duties in the highest fashion. He's making a real difference in this world, he did. And we're proud of him."


The memorial was started by friends of Tucker in the Madras community in the summer of 2007. Their efforts have since brought support from all over the country - and world.


"We've had donations from England, from China - I mean, we have people who are interested in this from around the world," said K'lyn Bush, one of the memorial's planners.  


They say the soldier's pose was strategic.


The soldier is looking up at a child who is perched up on a shelf who is in the ruins in Iraq," said Bob Maxwell, a WWII veteran, Bend resident and Oregon's only living Medal of Honor recipient, who spoke at Sunday's dedication ceremony.

His actions in that pose are meaningful and symbolic.


"The soldier is always looking up to find someone who they can help," said Maxwell. "His job is not always to pursue, chase down and destroy terrorists. He is there to preserve life too. And he is there for service."


The statue was designed by nationally known sculptor Rip Caswell. He said the design came from stories he heard of Tucker working with children in Iraq during his service in the Army.


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