A tribute to those who have died while trying to protect us is in Des Moines this weekend.
It is called the Wall of Remembrance and holds the names of more than 11,000 people.
Ryan Topete is visiting for one reason. Topete says, “I`m here today to see my friends.”
Each etching is a reminder of someone he`ll never forget. Topete says, “I know I’ll never forget that day. Or those days I saw my friend just lying there dying or lying there dead."
Topete joined the Marines in 2003 and served three tours of duty in Iraq where he watched friends die. Their names are now on the Wall of Remembrance.
The wall lists the names of those who have lost their lives in the global war on terror starting on September 11th, 2001. It is a list that never seems to stop growing.
Retired Sergeant Keith Savage has his own permanent wall of remembrance for the friends he lost. Savage says, “It brings up some bad memories, but it`s worth it.”
For these veterans, each etching is a reminder to keep going. Topete says, “I can`t just stay and not live my life to the fullest because they aren`t here to live their life. So I know I have to live my life to the fullest.”
And in doing so he is honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.