This week, at the invitation of 3rd Infantry Division Commander MG Mike Murray and the Warrior Transition Battalion, we are holding our first I WAS THERE Film Workshop at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
When we checked in at our hotel on Sunday, the receptionist – who also happens to be married to a 3ID soldier – told us to be sure to take the time to visit the Fort Stewart Warriors Walk. And boy, am I glad we did! The Warriors Walk, a lovely walkway that frames the Fort Stewart parade ground, was established in 2003 to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the soldiers who served in the 3rd Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Walk is lined on both sides by 468 Eastern Redbud trees – one for each 3ID soldier who gave his or her life during these operations. A ceremony is conducted every month with new trees added as needed.
Each tree has a stone plaque in front of it with the name and rank of the soldier it honors. To actually Walk the Walk, as it were, is breathtaking, and a fitting way to remind visitors these patriots are not forgotten. But I was also struck by the sheer number of trees – and the magnitude of the loss of this one unit. There are far too many, and they are far too young.
Anyone that lives near or has an opportunity to visit Savannah or Hinesville/Fort Stewart, GA, should make a point of seeing the Warriors Walk at Fort Stewart. It is an important and powerful reminder of why we need to always take special care of our veterans in need.
Here is what is written on the plaque at the entrance to the Walk:
“This walkway is dedicated to the Soldiers and attached units of 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart/ Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Over the years on this field, Fort Stewart has honored dignitaries and held special events. For decades, many brave Soldiers have marched here prior to going to battle and this is where they are welcomed when they return home from battle. It is this field where warriors walk. And it is here on this walkway that we remember our courageous Soldiers who demonstrated exceptional valor, honor and respect for their Army, their country and their belief in their cause during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.”
The Eastern Redbud trees along the walkway are a symbol of life and will be a living tribute to the brave Soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
God Bless Them and God Bless the United States of America.”
You can see photos of each fallen soldier honored by the Warriors Walk at https://www.stewart.army.mil/warrWalk/