AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) —- For many family members who have a hero in the military, all they know is the connection between one another. They are at each other’s houses and bonding with other military families.
“When they pass, it’s like where do I fit in? asked Shanette Booker. “The Army is like nope, all of you still fit in, you’re still family, and we are going to do what we can to show you that we appreciate you as our family.”
Every year The Fort Gordon Survivor Outreach Service shows its appreciation by hosting a holiday remembrance service for the survivors of the fallen service members. Booker says she is honoring her husband, who served in the Marine Corps and the Army.
“He lit up a room,” explained Booker. “His personality was the first thing you noticed when he came in. He had a smile that just made your day better.”
Like Booker, all of the families at the services are remembering the good times they had with their heroes.
“We joined the military together,” said Britney Byrd. “We joined basic training together, so we had Christmas exodus, and that is one of the fondest moments.”
Byrd told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, she is honoring her brother. She says he passed four years ago. Now in her 11th year in the Army, Byrd continues to finish up her brother’s goal.
“He did finish his task; that’s what he was put on Earth to do,” explained Byrd. “Everything is going to be okay, and I carry him with me every day on my necklace.
Gone but never forgotten. The goal of the service is to make these survivors’ holiday season easier.
“During the holidays the cemetery has the wreath ceremony,” said Booker. “But to know that there is an actual ceremony with a picture to show you that they aren’t just headstones, or names, this is the face of my hero; that part I appreciate.”
Fort Gordon will have a Christmas tree lit up to honor all of the 262 fallen service members in the Fort Gordon area.
Photojournalist: Will Baker