Friday, May 25, 2007

Perspective: Memorial to fallen soldiers running out of room

FORT STEWART, Ga. — A popular war memorial consisting of dedicated trees, one planted for every soldier of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division lost to war, presents commanders with a problem.

The memorial is running out of space. Its elaborate design — requiring sidewalks and buried electrical lighting — has forced Army officials to prepare expansion plans.

It is a delicate issue at a base where thousands of families are sending loved ones off to war again, in some cases for the third time. "The assumption was, unfortunately, four years ago there wouldn't be but two sidewalks' worth of trees, and that just didn't happen to be the case," says Michael Biering, the garrison director of public works.

The memorial is filled with eastern redbud trees, chosen because their pink-purple blossoms appear in the spring. That's when soldiers from the 3rd Infantry, based here, first raced to Baghdad in 2003 and suffered their first fatalities. The division has returned to Iraq twice since then.

Read the rest at USA Today