CrimeOnline REMEMBERS OUR HEROES: 7,000 combat boots honor fallen soldiers at Fort Bragg

A memorial created three years ago at Fort Bragg, Indiana, had 7,000 combat boots over Memorial Day weekend, honoring soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to Retired Army veteran and Fort Bragg employee, Mike Thomas, the display is a way for people who can’t be at the memorial to have a way to connect to their loved ones. He started the gesture last year, and offered to take pictures of each boot, which displays the fallen soldier’s photo on front of the boot, and send it to loved ones who requested it. He didn’t get a large response last year, but this year, his post has already had over 200k shares on Facebook.

For the third year Fort Bragg has put on a memorial display of over 7000 boots to honor those killed in action in…

Posted by Mike Thomas on Sunday, May 21, 2017

Thomas told FOX 13 that he looked up each soldier’s information on the U.S. Department of Defense website, and arranged each boot in order of the soldiers’ birthdates. He also arranged the boots of soldiers who were roommates together, so that both boots sat beside each other at the memorial. Lt. Brendan Looney and Marine 1st Lt. Travis L. Manion were roommates while attending the U.S. Naval Academy. Although they died at separate locations and times while serving, they are now side-by-side in Arlington National Cemetery. Thomas made sure their boots were next to each other as well.

Travis Manion and Brendan Looney were roommates at the US Naval Academy. Travis was killed by a sniper while serving…

Posted by Mike Thomas on Sunday, May 21, 2017

With the sheer amount reception this year, Thomas was excited that people may get to connect, at least in some way, with their lost loved ones. He was even getting responses after the memorial event, and hopes that next year he can respond to each and every person who contacts him.

“They will be never forgotten as long as we speak their names and honor their lives,” Thomas said.

[Feature Photo: Ft. Bragg, NC/Facebook]