Soldiers Remembered at Warriors Walk - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/18/07

Soldiers Remembered at Warriors Walk

A relative of Sgt. John Mele takes a picture of Mele's daughter beside his tree in Warriors Walk. A relative of Sgt. John Mele takes a picture of Mele's daughter beside his tree in Warriors Walk.

It was an emotional day at Fort Stewart. Relatives and comrades gathered to remember four soldiers killed in Iraq during the past month. They paid tribute with living memorials to their service.

The families of fallen soldiers took their place one by one at Warriors Walk. They and their loved one's family in arms paid somber tribute. Comrades unveiled marble markers in front of the four trees planted in honor of the latest Third Infantry casualties.

The ceremony brings tears of emotion and honor from many relatives like those of Cpl. Javier Paredes. "I am real proud and his mother would have been even prouder," explained Maria Acevedo, the aunt who raised him and his brother.

"He served his country," added his brother Pedro. "That's what he loved to do."

But the ceremony can also move even the toughest soldier such as 1st Lt. Patrick McAbee who served with Sgt. John Mele. "He was a great guy, great gunner for a Bradley, pretty much my right hand man. Do anything for anybody whenever he was asked," McAbee noted, his voice choked with emotion.

Thursday's ceremony brought the number of fallen soldiers remembered to 373.

As loved ones added personal touches to their soldier's tree, they know those may fade, but their soldier's legacy will not.

Commanders began Warriors Walk during the first Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. It recognizes soldiers deployed with the Third Infantry and those temporarily attached to it in Iraq.

Reported by Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com 

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