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Walking the avenue of honor

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POSTED: March 23, 2011 11:18 a.m.

There is a parade field not far from here where military units pass and review. There is a walkway, about 4 feet wide, around this field. There are trees, at intervals of about 8 feet, on each side of this walkway. One can get chocked up as he walks along looking at the base of each of these trees where there is the name of a warrior who paid the ultimate price.
At the beginning of this walkway is a bronze plaque placed on a masonry column, explicating the reasons and history. You will notice the trees that are about 15 feet high. They are the oldest and tallest. Whereas at the end of this walkway are the youngest trees, not more than 2 feet high, commemorating the latest added warrior’s name.
The spirits of officers and enlisted men alike are here on this walkway called the “Warrior’s Walk.” This avenue of honor commemorates those from the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, and it is a representation of what we have to pay for our freedom and our way of life.
I was not aware of the parade field until invited by the parents of one of those warriors who was coming home from a far-off battlefield. All the emotions and joys flowed as these warriors from Afghanistan disembarked from a bus at the rear end of the field and marched in formal rank toward the podium to be welcomed by their loved ones.
Imagine the feelings and emotions of a loved one arriving there to greet a warrior. Imagine how a loved one would feel, that instead of receiving their warrior, his name would be placed at the base of another tree added on the Warrior’s Walk. Imagine all the tears that have fallen on this avenue of honor. Then, try to imagine the price that has to be paid for our way of life.
In addition to the relatives and friends of the arriving warriors, there were others who were concerned and patriotic about this event. There were the Vietnam Veterans of America, Liberty County Chapter 789, wearing black leather jackets with a sign on their backs, “Welcome Home,” and there were those who assist in the reintegration of military personnel. And of course, there was the 3rd Infantry Band.
It has been many years since I was on a military reservation. I greeted one of the warriors, chatted for a moment and shook his hand, followed with a bear hug. Knowing names are not necessary, veterans don’t have to say many words to carry on a conversation. Since they have so much in common, many words don’t have to be spoken, they are understood.
Think of the fulfillment if large numbers of us turn out for this event and are a part of the welcoming group. Think of the joy if there are no more warriors added to “Where Warriors Walk.”

Bond lives in Richmond Hill. He can be reached at fsb007@aol.com

 

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