Couple makes front-lawn memorial for fallen soldiers

Posted July 25, 2008

— A Fayetteville couple has turned their front yard into a memorial dedicated to every Fort Bragg soldier killed in combat since Sept. 11, 2001.

Officials say 269 soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg have fallen in Iraq or Afghanistan during the past seven years.

Barbara Morris, a stylist in a local hair salon, said seeing the face of a fallen soldier on the news motivated her to do something to honor the troops.

"He was so young, and it touched me really deep. And I wanted to do something for the family," said Morris, who nearly 40 years ago, waited for her Army husband to return from Vietnam.

"My heart was just so filled up," she added. "I know that feeling of, 'Will he come home? ... I kept thinking, 'What can I do, what can I do?'"

She and her husband made 269 white crosses. With the help of neighbors, they planted planted the crosses, each accompanied by a small American flag, on the front lawn of their house at Bahama Loop and Paradise Court, off Morganton Road.

Morris wrote the name of a deceased soldier on each cross, and many also bear a newspaper photograph of the solider. Nailed to two pine trees, signs read, "Faith. Love. Our heroes."

"I just wanted to the families to know that civilians really cared about them, too," Morris said.

First Lt. Andrew Kelly had to see the memorial for himself after returning home from Iraq last week. He said his buddy, Staff Sgt. Laurent West, did not come home.

"To see each individual cross lined up kind of gives you the sense of the enormity of it," Kelly said. "It's pretty sobering to see this many guys just from Fort Bragg and Pope (Air Force Base)."

Morris said the wife of a fallen soldier cried while visiting the memorial on Thursday night.

"There were at least 10 of us hugging her, and we were all crying," Morris said. "And she was smiling as she left, and that's what I wanted to accomplish."

Morris said her initial plans are to keep up the display for two weeks and then set it up again on Memorial Day. However, she said the memorial will stay up as long as military families want to see it.

"I think it's a great gesture. It's nice," Kelly said. "I guess you can take whatever you want to take from it."


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  • beachgal Jul 25, 2008

    How would putting American flags on your lawn be anti-war? That just doesn't make sense. If anything it shows patriotism.

  • something2say Jul 25, 2008

    "maybe the white house needs to do the same!"

    I like that idea! Can you see the white house lawn now with the 1000 plus crosses from this war. It would be a daily reminder that we need to appreciate our troops adn take good care of them while also trying to get this war over! Support our boys but bring them home asap!

  • bs101fly Jul 25, 2008

    i think this against the hoa rules!

  • gohawks Jul 25, 2008

    I sent this to a bunch of friends. We do forget what these people are doing for us. We might or might not agree with the war, but they are doing this for our country.

    This woman, I hope, accomplished making others remember.

  • bluewind Jul 25, 2008

    This is great...American ingenuity honoring the ones who make our freedom possible...

  • simracer68 Jul 25, 2008

    "Wait 'till the HOA finds out about it."

    There's no HOA in/for the neighborhood in question. Only thing that could stop it would be a city ordinance. I doubt any council people in Fayetteville would be dumb enough to fight it. Given that probably 90% of the Morris' neighbors are active duty or retired military, I can't see any complaints from them either.

    I've seen this display and it's very moving to say the least.

  • ihateliberals Jul 25, 2008

    It's nice to see someone remembering our service men and women in a very public manner. Unfortunately, we have so many blessings in this country, it is easy to forget the sacrifices some are making. Kudos to this couple.

    God Bless America.

  • Desiderata Jul 25, 2008

    What a unique and visual way of paying tribute to those who have lost their lives for us here. Saying "Thank you " for reminding me to remember is not enough...

  • Dayum Sessy Jul 25, 2008

    maybe the white house needs to do the same!

  • joel Jul 25, 2008

    haggis basher -- How is this a dangerous idea, who are the enemies, and how will they exploit this?