Another 3rd Infantry Division soldier was memorialized with a tree dedication ceremony Thursday morning at Fort Stewart’s Warriors Walk.
The Eastern redbud tree planted for Pvt. 1st Class Barrett L. Austin is the 458th tree now serving as a living memorial to the sacrifice of Marne Division soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dreary, overcast skies threatened rain throughout the ceremony, and an occasional breeze caused wind chimes hidden among the memorial trees to ring.
A slow procession of family members, close friends and fellow soldiers were escorted to their seats as the 3rd ID band played quiet hymns in the background. Among the hundreds of fellow soldiers attending Austin’s tree dedication ceremony was his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Brendan Fossum.
Fossum, who was severely injured by the same improvised explosive device that took Austin’s life last month, came to Stewart from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C, just to participate in the memorial service for his soldier.
“(Austin) was a very worry-free guy,” recalled Fossum as he leaned on a walking cane for support. “He never let anything get him down.”
Read more in the June 22 edition of the News.