By Tammy Mori
In honor of our fallen service members, a local charity, set up a display honoring every man and woman who has died while serving our country since September 11, 2001.
The memorial is the first of its kind in the country.
As part of Tripler’s Fisher House family fun weekend on Ford Island, there is a serious and humbling message that people are walking away with.
One by one, volunteers lined up these boots, each one telling a story.
“The boots represent the hard work, and the hard work on the ground,” says Zachary Rogers, Retired Captain with the U.S. Marine Corps.
And they represent a life. A life lost while serving our country since the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“It’s sobering. Its definitely sobering to see it in a visual format to see how many guys aren’t here anymore,” says Jason Loder, a Mililani Resident.
“You see it, but you don’t think this,” says Theresa Johnson, Manager of Tripler Fisher House.
The display started small…they started collecting pictures the beginning of this year and began collecting the boots a month ago.
“It started off as just an education piece- our friend lost their son, and then another friend and another friend. We decided they all needed to be honored, and this is what is left ,” says Johnson.
It grew into a memorial- recognizing the 6568 people who have since died in this war…with the numbers growing every day.
” I just think about who they left behind, and I just feel really sad for their families and hope they’re doing ok,” says Julee George, a visitor from Utah.
That’s where Tripler’s Fisher House comes into the picture- the charity provides transportation to Hawaii and accommodations for families of wounded warriors.
“Any of the family members who have lost a loved one, through our Fisher House ‘hero miles’, we can possibly help them, we also take care of families that have been wounded,” says Johnson.
The Fisher House says they hope this display gives an idea of just how many people and families this war has touched..
“Looking at all their faces, it brings it home. They’re all real people , it’s not just casualty of war but it’s a real person that should be filling those shoes,” says Loder.
“And I’m grateful for all of them, for willing to serve and sacrifice their life for all of us,” says George.
If you would like to donate boots, or even air miles to the Fisher House- please visit www.triplerfisherhouse.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/triplerfisherhouse or call (808) 433-1291 ext. 28.
You can also see the display tomorrow at Ford Island, just past the Pacific Aviation Museum.