HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS)– From a world war two memorial replica to the traveling Michigan Vietnam veterans memorial wall people from all ages ages gathered at the “Freedom is never free event.”
“No matter what branch you’re in, we’re all on the same mission and that’s for freedom,” said Commander of Disabled American Veterans 125, Mark Kovach.
The Lima Company Eyes of Freedom travels across the U.S. sharing stories of those who served and those their lives.
“We were deployed to Iraq in 2005, hugely successful deployment, we accomplished a lot but we had several really terrible days, where we lost 23 of our guys.,” said Executive Director of the Eyes of Freedom, Mike Strahle.
Strahle says he was there when it all happened.
“I didn’t make it in all this as well, and I was dealing with some pretty difficult survivors guilt for awhile,” said Strahle, “I’m in a lot better place because I’ve been doing this.”
Now Strahle has been traveling with the company for nine years, including murals of those 23 men and a pair of boots that belonged to them.
“Before the murals were unveiled in 2008, the families came together and gave a pair of boots that belong to their sons,” said Strahle.
Strahle says after years of events, their goals changed.
“Our mission grew and it become much less about these men specifically and more about guys that served in all branches and all eras,” said Strahle.
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, honored veterans at a pinning ceremony and visited the Eye of Freedom tent.
“My husband and I actually met in Iraq when we were both serving in Iraq so my husband and I, we don’t have an Iraq war or Afghanistan war memorial, one doesn’t exist so this is one of the first memorial that I’ve ever been to a conflict that I’ve served in,” said Rep. Slotkin.
The event will continue until 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.