FORT STEWART, Ga. -Soldiers and sponsors of the Raider Brigade Fallen Soldiers Memorial gathered together at the new brigade headquarters to break ground on the memorial site, Dec. 9. The memorial, scheduled to be dedicated when the Raider Brigade returns to Iraq, will be located next to the new brigade headquarters.

"The importance of having a memorial like this is to have a place where Soldiers and Families can go and not think about what happened to the Soldier, but the good times that they've had with that Family Member and with that Soldier," said Spc. Jani Michielsen, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team. "We have the Warriors Walk, which is really nice, but we need a place that is just for 1st Brigade Soldiers alone."

The project design, donated by Infinity Design builders, incorporates six pillars for each of the brigade's six battalions, as well as benches and trees.

"I helped with funds for the memorial and also coordinated with the Infinity Design builders in erecting the drafting plans for the memorial itself and kept communication with them to fine-tune the memorial into what we see today," said Staff Sgt. Jason Smith, operations noncommissioned officer for the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment. "I asked the colonel if I could ask them to help out and Infinity Design Builders said they would be glad to do it. It's very touching to be a part of this. Having known a couple of the fallen Soldiers myself, it helps fill the void of their loss."

Businesses from across the Coastal Empire contributed to turn the memorial into a reality.

"This is just another example of how the community that surrounds Fort Stewart really comes together to dedicate their time and their effort to this memorial to support the Soldier," said Command Sgt. Major Jeffrey Ashmen, division command sergeant major-rear.

The memorial will also serve as a peaceful place for Soldiers and Family Members to reflect on their lost loved ones.

"I personally knew one of the Soldiers who will be on that memorial as my commander," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ashmen. "And to hear his name again causes you to reflect back on the person, and he truly was a great commander."