CALALLEN, Texas — Admittedly, September is a challenging month for Lisa Mangus of Calallen.
On what should be a happy occasion, her parents' wedding anniversary lands on September 11.
If that's not trying enough, she still mourns the loss of her father, a Vietnam War veteran. He died on September 24, 2018 of cancer associated with exposure to Agent Orange, a tactical herbicide the U.S. military used to clear leaves and vegetation for military operations mainly during Vietnam.
After the late August attacks in Afghanistan killing 13 American troops, Mangus came up with a poignant and powerful way to honor their lives and those who perished on 9-11.
Saturday, 20 years after America came under attack, Mangus set up 13 small wooden crosses laid out in a semi-circle. The name, rank, service branch and photo of each of the 13 fallen service members is affixed to each cross.
The memorial display on Mangus' front lawn also includes a special American flag. The names of those who were killed on 9-11 are sewn into the framed quilt.
Years ago, Mangus and her husband, an Army veteran, would bring the same flag to their children's school to help teach them the importance of September 11.
"The kids had a chance to pay tribute to the many that had lost their lives that day," said Mangus. "This year I decided that after the 13 soldiers had passed, I just wanted to do something (to remember them)."
Mangus plans to keep the memorial display up in front of the family home, located off Wood River Drive in Calallen, at least through the evening of September 11.
Whether you visit or not, Mangus hopes Americans pay the proper respect to those who gave all.
"I just want to make sure they are never forgotten," said Mangus.