Frame shop owner thanking military personnel

Published 8:27 am Friday, May 7, 2010

FRANKLIN—On Memorial Day, Americans will recognize those who have served in the armed forces.

Gayle Schmitz wants to make sure they aren’t forgotten the rest of the year.

“It’s not just one day a year that we should be thinking of them; it should be every day,” Schmitz said. “Communities need to be supportive.”

For the past year-and-a-half, the owner of Franklin Art & Frameworks on Main Street has been asking families of service members, deceased or living, to provide her with pictures. She makes a copy of the picture, mounts and mats it, and downtown businesses display them in their windows.

Schmitz estimated she’s done about 20 pictures.

“People are very positive. They seem to think it’s a really good idea,” she said.

Schmitz doesn’t charge for the pictures and it’s open to all service members, not just those who have served in war zones.

“I think that it helps some of the veterans to heal — to know that they are respected and appreciated and to have their service acknowledged,” she said.

Schmitz described herself as “an original 1960s ‘hell no, we won’t go’ hippie.”

“I think in my idealistic youth I actually thought that one day war would go away,” she said. “As I grew up, I came to understand that that’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime, if ever. I don’t think you have to believe in war in order to support these folks, it’s a very separate thing, because I’m still not a war supporter.”

Dan Howe, Downtown Franklin Association manager, said the program is a great way for the community to show its patriotism.

“I think that’s just another small way that our community can acknowledge and recognize our armed services,” he said.

Schmitz, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Ladies Auxiliary, said she wants people to realize how much war has affected a lot of service members.

“My main goal is to urge people to remember both our veterans and our active duty members, who are making great sacrifices, and so are their families,” she said. “I don’t think everybody needs to be running up and down Main Street waving flags, but I think that we need to always be aware.”

Anyone interested can stop by Franklin Art & Frameworks or call Schmitz at 516-2660.