As the war in Iraq continues, many military families here at home feel the pain of sacrifice. Many of those families gathered Thursday at Warriors Walk to pay tribute to soldiers lost in the cause of freedom.
Through the somber row of trees, the family of Staff Sgt. Darren Hubbell and others made their way to Warriors Walk. They gathered with friends and fellow soldiers to remember ten Third Infantry troops killed in Iraq. Hubbell's wife Dana, felt moved by the hundreds of soldiers there who may have never met her husband.
"They're all brothers. That's the only word for it," she said. "They're all brothers. It's one for all and all for one."
Commanders had words of praise for each of the fallen.
A soldier from each hero's unit unveiled marble markers underneath an Easter Red Tip tree dedicated in his or her memory. The words of tribute, the rows of trees and salutes tugged on grieving hearts.
"The honor you see, the respect from everybody is overwhelming," said Hubbell's mother Darlene Larsen. "He'd be so proud. He'd be so proud of it." And they, in turn, are so proud of him and his service.
For some families, especially the parents of soldiers, this may be the first and last time they come to Fort Stewart. But Dana Hubbell says she'll be back at least once more.
"I'll be meeting that bus when his unit comes back," she promised. "Darren was supposed to be there. And I'll be there to welcome them. Because they're not just fellow soldiers, they're his brothers.
In the face of his and other's sacrifice, Dana says her soldier would expect nothing less.
Thursday's ceremony brings the total number of memorial trees to 348 since the beginning of Third Infantry's march into Iraq in 2003.