Traveling Iraq Memorial Stops in Hermiston - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Traveling Iraq Memorial Stops in Hermiston

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HERMISTON, Ore.-- A traveling Iraq memorial stopped in Hermiston today. Many spectators called it the most visual reminder of the sacrifice thousands of men and women serving our country have made.

Several local soldiers are preparing for deployment to Iraq.

"I'm looking forward to be able to do my part and make sure I can give the next guy a break," said John Roberts, Private in the U.S. Army.

One man wants us to think about the sacrfice these soldiers are making.

"We want people to know that the cost of the war is perhaps far beyond what people are imaging right now," said Jeff Hunter, Eyes Wide Open.

Hunter is the event coordinator for the Eyes Wide Open Memorial for fallen soldiers of the Iraq War.

"What matters is that we can all take a moment and grieve the loss of these young men and women," said Hunter.

These are the last boots medic, Ryan Walker, was wearing when he was killed in an explosion in Iraq. Walker, who was from Pendleton, stayed two extra months so his friend could go home to his new born baby. Walker was a fourth generation soldier.

"This is like kind of the first time I've seen where it's kind of all in one place a symbol of every person that has sacrificed," said Michael Bidwell, who visited the memorial today.

These 4,000 flags represent every fallen soldier from the Iraq War. The flags are a vivid reminder of the brave men and women serving our country and those who will soon be in harms way.

"We've had a lot of people come back and even re-enlist because I know you get out and your in the civilian world and your like you know that's what I'm supposed to do and they'll go and re-enlist and go back," said Sgt. Gary Pemberton, U.S. Army.

The eyes wide open exhibit will travel next month to Concordia Univerisity in Portland. Meanwhile, local soldiers deploy for Iraq on August 18th.