Warriors Walk is located at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia. It was built to honor the soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Steward and nearby Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, who sacrificed their lives during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The first ceremony honoring these courageous soldiers was conducted there on April 29, 2003.
Several years before that, my brother and I were contacted at Tidewater Landscape by a representative of the real estate firm GMH Communities. Led by CEO Gary Holloway Sr., GMH constructs and maintains the family housing area at Fort Stewart and Hunter AAF. Tidewater was hired to provide landscaping services for these two locations.
We began the relationship with GMH not knowing anything about the protocols for dealing with Department of Defense. Yet we learned as we landscaped the grounds at Fort Stewart and Hunter AAF over the course of five years. Then we were asked to undertake a special project that GMH was spearheading.
The project was Warriors Walk. At the time, I was in my early 40s and had two young daughters who were about 7 and 9 years old. When the project began, I didn’t feel an emotional connection to what we were doing. It seemed like another landscape job that a customer needed.
But as we added more and more Eastern Redbuds something started to tear at my heart. Each tree meant that a family member would not be returning home to Fort Stewart or Hunter AAF. I would sometimes have to stop and wipe away tears thinking about the pain and suffering these soldiers’ families must have felt due to losing a loved one.
After almost 20 years of working with the Department of Defense from coast to coast, our staff at Tidewater sees how much our armed forces and their families do for us every day. Their dedication and sacrifice make it possible for us to have so many freedoms here in the United States.
This and every Memorial Day, we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — their life. Thank you.
*Eastern Redbuds are now white crape myrtles
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