The symbols of true heroes are now planted along Warriors Walk. Their names forever etched in stone on a plaque in front of "their" tree.
Both 18 year old Private Matthew Zeimer and 19 year old Private Kelly Youngblood died too young. Their deaths still too fresh for the families left behind. Fellow soldiers are still trying to come to grips with their deaths. " When it's someone that close to you, that young. It hurts, it hurts," Specialist Derek Benson said sadly.
Private Zeimer followed in his dad's foot steps and joined the Army a year ago. He was only in Iraq two weeks before he died in combat." My son is my hero. How many people can honestly say that?" asked Matthew's father, Tom Epperson.
Charlie Harrold knows his grandson, Private Kelly Youngblood, died doing what he loved." He always wanted to be a soldier. He always dressed like them. And when he got old enough, he became one."
It's that thought that keeps him going. Harrold loving wears the picture of Kelly in his uniform on the lapel of his jacket.
"We're all proud of him. We know he did a good job," said Harrold softly.
Now two more Eastern Bud Trees, in full bloom line the walk on Cottrell field. The trees planted on Thursday brings the total number of trees to 320. But each tree represents a new beginning for these families. "To me, it's something that will keep on living. Kind of like still having him here," replied Harrold.
Specialist Benson agreed. " It shows so much respect to the soldiers. Planting a tree, I mean that's cool. Because that thing is going to be there for a long time."
All the trees that line Warriors Walk serve as a living monument to the men and women of the Third ID, the U.S. Army, and the National Guard who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.