Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
Friends of the Frontier Army Museum installed 25 new bricks Nov. 8 to the Frontier Tribute Trail, a walkway and landscaped patio area featuring personalized engraved bricks in front of the Frontier Army Museum.
The trail features bricks placed in tribute to affiliated organizations and loved ones. Personalized bricks can still be added to the trail through the Friends of the Frontier Army Museum by visiting https://www.ffam.us/frontier-tribute-trail.html.
“The Tribute Trail project is an initiative designed to beautify the front landscape of the museum and pay tribute to individual people connected to Fort Leavenworth,” said Elesa Johnson, current Tribute Trail chairperson. “We have a total of 151, including the 25 bricks being installed today. We conduct installation ceremonies two times a year — once in the fall and once in the spring.”
Johnson said that the Frontier Tribute Trail also serves as another way to draw visitors to the museum. Those wanting to leave a tangible and unique symbol on Fort Leavenworth can purchase a personalized engraved brick.
“I got one for my dad just to show him that I care about what he does for our country,” said Ewan Aitken, whose father, Col. Mark Aitken, is the Combined Arms Center Operations G3. “And, to let him know when he goes on trips that I miss him and I wish he was with me.”
Col. Andrew Shoffner, Garrison commander, formally welcomed dignitaries, participants and guests to the tribute event at an opening reception. Shoffner highlighted the integral role Frontier Army Museum plays in the culture of the installation and its citizenry.
“Museums serve an important purpose in a community,” he said. “They are there to educate and inspire. This particular museum does a remarkable job in capturing the rich history of our country during the specific period of 1804 to 1916.
“It is also worth noting that this critical role the museum has maintained over the years, was often done while sometimes operating under less than ideal conditions and while facing fiscal challenges that are very familiar to the Army community,” Shoffner said. “It is also the volunteer, who often makes up for fiscal shortages. Without an organization like Friends of the Frontier Army Museum, we would not be able to sustain cultural events such as the Historic Homes Tour in the fall, the springtime Haunted Tour of Fort Leavenworth, or maintain interest in important places such as the Frontier Army Museum itself.”
FFAM President Connie Croft said Johnson created a new grid map of the exact location of each brick. The map serves as a locator resource for visitors to find a specific tribute.
Page 2 of 2 - “This is my third year with the organization, and May of 2015 was our first year of this project,” Croft said. “The initial purpose was to simply enhance the facade. We have the cannons and historic wall that were not noticeable to visitors to the museum.”