Hundreds gathered at Fort Stewart this morning to pay tribute to those killed decades ago and just last year.
Lt. Patrick Schado (ret.) served in the Third Infantry like his father before him. On Memorial Day, he passed along a family heirloom to the division. "It is a documented history of the Third Infantry, of all their campaigns during World War II," he explained. "It was composed by the commanding staff when General Neal was the commanding general and was commemorated Memorial Day, 1945."
One by one, veterans groups from that war and others laid wreaths to remember soldiers as they've done for decades. But Memorial Day is no longer just to remember sacrifices from way back when. This observance was the first since the Third ID returned from Iraq.
"Forty-five of our soldiers are no longer with us because they fought and died to preserve those freedoms for the Iraqi people and us," said Third Infantry commander Maj. Gen. William Webster.
Those soldiers are remembered along Warrior's Walk. Spec. Greg Saunders was the first killed. His aunt, Lee Ann Knight, says Memorial Day has new meaning for her family. "It doesn't matter how old or young they are," she said. "It is the ultimate sacrifice they made for our country."
Knight lives near Atlanta. She says it's actually closer to drive here than back to Indiana where Saunders is buried.
Smoke of a 21-gun salute filled the field, along with memories of sacrifices past and present.