Comrades back home are honoring their memory.
Family and friends and fellow National Guardsmen gathered to unveil and dedicate the memorial, a tribute to three of their own, citizen soldiers killed.
"I felt I had to do it. I have been in this unit 12 years. It was something I wanted to do, and it all came together," said Spc. Jason Litchford.
Litchford led the effort to create the memorial that honors members of Company D, First Battalion 178th Infantry killed March 15, 2009 when an improvised explosive device detonated near Sgt. Christopher Abeyta of Midlothian, Sgt. Robert Weinger of Round Lake Beach, and Spc. Norman Cain, III of Mount Morris.
"It's a way for him to be remembered, and it'll always be here for everyone that passes to see it," said father Norman Cain, Jr.
"It is a great honor. You know, I just keep thinking about the guys from Vietnam who didn't get the recognition when they first came home, and they're just now getting it. Our sons were honored the day they died, and it's continuing," said Sue Weinger, soldier's mother.
Each part of the memorial is intended to have a special meaning. The rock signifies the rough terrain in Afghanistan, while the marble-engraved poem is meant to signify the smoother road that is being created by Operation Enduring Freedom.