Thirty-four Third Infantry Division soldiers paid the ultimate price in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They're gone, but will never be forgotten. Yesterday's memorial at Fort Stewart was filled with patriotism, families proud of their fallen heroes. Seeing tears in the crowd made you realize that not only did these 34 soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice, but their families did as well.
While most Army families looked for war news on the television, one husband and wife team looked across the battlefield.
"It was terrifying," said Spc. Jodonna Brown, a soldier and Army wife herself. "I had little concentration on the war. I was more or less worried about my husband."
On April 8, Brown got the heartbreaking news. Her husband, Sgt. Henry Brown, had fallen in the line of duty.
"I was in Iraq, so I was in theater when I got the news," she said. She was immediately flown back home. "It's been really hard," she said.
As sad as she is, the afternoon's memorial made her feel better, knowing she's not alone, and knowing her husband and his fallen comrades will forever be remembered.
"It was definitely a great tribute to these soldiers," she said.
A path, lined with 34 redbud trees--one for each of the fallen soldiers--is now known as Warriors' Walk. The trees bloom late spring, around the time the soldiers gave their lives.
"This is just one more thing that lets me know he wasn't just another soldier in the brigade or 164 Armor," said Brown. "He really mattered and that is very important to me."
Warriors' Walk is right next to the marching field, so the fallen soldiers will always be beside their comrades.
Spc. Brown now wears her husband's dog tags along with her own when she reports to duty each day. Just before being deployed, they'd both reenlisted for another four years. After losing her husband, she may be getting out early and going to college.