News: Marne Division, community pay tribute during holidays
Story by Sgt. Uriah Walker
FORT STEWART, Ga. – “This is where our warriors walk … so it is fitting that those warriors who do not make that last walk are memorialized around this field by the eastern redbud trees you see on both sides,” began 3rd Infantry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. John M. Murray. “This place, located in the heart of Fort Stewart, represents hallowed ground where the memories of Marne Division heroes live on. … And I assure you that every single person memorialized along this walk is truly an American hero.”
More than 140 motorcyclists from nearly 10 different clubs from as far away as Augusta, Ga., along with JROTC and Civil Air Patrol cadet volunteers were in attendance to aid in placing wreaths at the bases of the 466 eastern redbud trees on Fort Stewart’s Warriors Walk.
“Words cannot describe how honored I am to be able to speak to you at this seventh annual wreath laying ceremony for the 466 heroes that gave their all in defense of our nation,” Murray said.
The ceremony is held each year, in conjunction with National Wreaths Across America, on the second Saturday in December. The memorial at Fort Stewart is unique because it is the only living memorial on any military installation in the U.S.
For seven years now, Wreaths for Warriors Walk Inc. has been placing a holiday wreath at the bases of the trees of fallen heroes as a way to honor their sacrifice and that of their families. The trees are a living memorial to those soldiers who, while assigned to 3rd ID, have fought and fallen in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn or Enduring Freedom .
This year, Warriors Walk had wreaths placed by hundreds of volunteers, service members and 170 family members from 44 of our heroes' families. After the wreaths had been placed, families could be seen talking to some of the volunteers, sharing stories and tears alike.
“I’m amazed at the support and strength of these families and the support that they give to one another,” Jane Murray, Maj. Gen. Murray’s wife, shared. “I don’t think there’s a more perfect place for the families to be able to come and share with one another their loss and their sacrifice. The trees without leaves and the ornaments are almost more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen. I will always remember this. … It’s magical.”