Marines volunteer to guard traveling tribute

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Remembering our Fallen tribute is in Lincoln for the weekend, and on display 24 hours. During the evening volunteers from the Marine Corps guard the towers and do it with pride.

Don Stephens and Allen Sackett were two of those men. They said the job was more than just a watchman shift, for them, watching the towers was a privilege

"We stand out here trying to defend our brothers and sisters, fallen brothers and sisters. And honor the sacrifice they made," said Sackett.

They said their other duty is to help people find their loved ones on the banners. No matter what time.

"Anytime somebody comes up to take a look I'll ask them if there's somebody I can help them find. And there's been a number of people I've been able to do that for already," said Sackett.

For Stephens, that has been the most rewarding part.

"It's a good feeling to basically allow somebody or help somebody make that connection," said Stephens.

The panels feature thousands of photos remembering the soldiers who died in 9/11 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This is extremely important for me as it should be for anybody because everybody's picture back there is somebody that was in the armed forces since 9/11 in 2011 that has died in the line of duty. And everybody should be here bearing witness for them," said Stephens.

Sackett said the night was emotional for him because, he recognized one of the faces.

"When I first arrived here this evening I walked around and a little bit to take a look, and I came across a photo of someone I knew. And I was not even aware he had passed away. It wasn't a favorite part, but it left an impression," said Sackett.

Stephens drove all the way from Omaha to work a six hour shift. The panels are guarded from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and the guards normally switch off every two hours.

Both men said they jumped at the chance to help.

The tribute leaves Lincoln on Sunday, and will eventually end in Washington D.C.