Makeshift memorial in NC for 13 service members killed in Afghanistan continues to grow; businesses paying tribute

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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) — A memorial that lines the road leading to Camp Lejeune to honor the 13 service members killed in last week’s blast in Afghanistan continues to grow.

Over the weekend, 13 boots were placed in the grass on Hwy. 24 (Freedom Way) in Midway Park. Each pair of boots has a photograph and name of those in Kabul who gave the ultimate sacrifice. One of those was for Sgt. Nicole Gee, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune.

People visiting the memorial have been placing flowers, American flags, bullets, alcohol, and banners. Gee’s boots even had Starbucks Frappuccino’s and Barefoot Pink Moscato wine surrounding them.

Bill Harris, a retired staff sergeant, was one of the many Jacksonville residents on Monday who came to pay their respects to the fallen service members in Kabul.

“And unfortunately, we have situations like we have today, where, you have a memorial for people that aren’t coming home,” Harris said.

Harris says the community is great with recognizing troops when they deploy or when they come home, but unfortunately this particular recognition is for those who aren’t coming home. He also said he often goes to the Beirut Memorial service that’s held each year because he had a lot of friends who didn’t make it through that.

Communities all over Eastern North Carolina and the country are showing support in different ways to honor the service members who were killed. Many bars and restaurants are reserving 13 glasses and tables for them.

Twin Ravens Tavern in Jacksonville was one of those businesses doing their part on Monday. Bartender Kelly Shackleton said this area is a big supporter of the military and they will do all they can to continue to show their support.

“Nothing we can do can bring our fallen back,” Shackleton said. “It’s to show our respect and to honor them the best way that we can.”

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