Memorial Day in the U.S. is a time for remembering and honoring those U.S. Armed Forces members who have lost their lives fighting to keep us safe.
At Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, which is the largest military installation in the world, a temporary memorial was set up honoring those service members who have died since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
The display involves more than 7,500 boots and images of the moving tribute are being shared around the world.
The boots — which had the service members’ photos and dates of death — were on display for Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s annual Run, Honor and Remember 5k.
“It shows the families the service members are still remembered, honored and not forgotten,” said Charlotte Watson, program manager of Fort Bragg’s Survivor Outreach Services.
“The true meaning of Memorial Day is not picnics and barbecues, though those are great things, the meaning is paying tribute,” she added.
The idea for the display came from similar ones at Fort Hood in Texas, and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Jonathan Lomax, who was in the Marines for 21 years, was one visitor to the tribute and told The BL, he hoped he didn’t recognize any of the names.
“Any loss of life is severe, so all of these are my brothers and sisters,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it.”
“It (the memorial) means we’ve lost good soldiers, a lot of good service members fighting for this country,” he said. “And this is just recent. It’s not even the ones we’ve lost before (9/11) — a lot of young people.”
One of the boots represented Dr. Mark Taylor, a lieutenant colonel who was a surgeon assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division Forward Surgical Team.
He was killed during a rocket attack on March 20, 2004, in Fallujah, Iraq.
“I’ve got some friends’ husbands who are out here,” said volunteer Beth Grimshaw, “I’d like to see this out so they’re not forgotten.”
Such a moving tribute to so many men and women who have sacrificed their lives. We salute and honor them!
Please share this story further to ensure they are never forgotten.