Heading into Memorial Day…the boots were on display to serve as a reflection of the sacrifices that all military branches have made.
(Rachael Riley – The Fayette Observer) More than 7,500 boots on display at Fort Bragg this month served as a temporary memorial to service members from all branches who have died since 9/11.
The boots — which had the service members’ photos and dates of death — were on display for Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s annual Run, Honor and Remember 5k on May 18 and for the 82nd Airborne Division’s run that kicked off All American Week.
“It shows the families the service members are still remembered, honored and not forgotten,” said Charlotte Watson, program manager of Fort Bragg’s Survivor Outreach Services.
The idea for the display came from similar ones at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The first display at Fort Bragg was in Hedrick Stadium in 2014. It was organized by Fort Bragg’s Survivor Outreach Services and Fisher House.
Jonathan Lomax, who was in the Marines for 21 years, was among those who stopped to see the boots and pay his respects on May 17.
Though Lomax knows of Marines who died in combat, he said he hoped he didn’t recognize names on the boots as he strolled among the multiple rows on the field at Hedrick Stadium.
“Any loss of life is severe, so all of these are my brothers and sisters,” Lomax said. “That’s the way I look at it.”