FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Just after sunset on the evening of Aug. 31, a group of about 50 service members and their families stood on the lawn in front of the Marine Corps Detachment headquarters building to pay tribute to the 11 Marines, one Sailor and one Soldier killed Aug. 26, while supporting evacuation efforts near the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The modest salute — called the Afghanistan Angels Memorial — included boots, flags and photographs of the fallen. Attendees laid flowers. It was organized by the Marine Detachment’s spouses volunteer group after the remains of the service members were returned to the U.S. this week.
Rachel Wade, wife of Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Wade, said the event was organized in about 18 hours.
“We feel strongly that the memorial brings us closer together and helps us honor those that have sacrificed their lives for us,” she said.
It’s important to honor the fallen, Gunnery Sgt. Wade said, and not just mourn their loss.
“Celebrate their lives and what they have achieved in service to our country,” he said.
Wade said he has seen an outpouring of interest and additional tributes from service members and spouses of every service branch on Fort Leonard Wood.
“We must honor these (fallen service members) for their ultimate sacrifice and remember their efforts in sustaining freedom, not just here at home but across the globe,” he said.