7,000 boots are lined up on a recreation field at Fort Bragg in honor of those soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The annual display began three years ago by Survivor Outreach Services or SOS. Mike Thomas, a retired army veteran who is now an employee at Fort Bragg, made it his mission to connect the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice with the display. He offered to take a photo of any individual boot in the display and send it to the corresponding soldier’s family.
The boots are displayed in order of the soldiers’ month and year of death. When Thomas posted a video of the display this year, it quickly gained more than 50,000 shares — requests for photos began to pour in and Thomas diligently set about the task of taking photos of the boots to send to soldiers’ families. According to Fox 29, Thomas continued getting requests for photos even after the display was taken down. He hopes to be able to fulfill every request next year.
“They will be never forgotten as long as we speak their names and honor their lives,” Thomas said of the interest surrounding the memorial display.