KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Along a stretch of road in Walker, a striking, somber tribute sticks out along the curve.
Thirteen empty chairs, draped in old glory, each one represents one of the thirteen service members killed in the attack at Kabul airport.
Army Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Tennessee.
Marine Lance Corporal David Espinoza, 20, of Texas
Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of California
Marine Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31, of Utah.
Marine Corporal Hunter Lopez, 22, of California
Marine Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, 20, of California
Marine Lance Corporal Rylee McColllum, 20, of Wyoming
Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, 20, of California
Marine Corporal Daegan Page, 23, of Nebraska.
Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Massachusetts
Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, 20, of Missouri.
Marine Corporal Humberto Sanchez, 22, of Indiana.
Navy medic Maxton Soviak, 22, of Ohio.
The chairs surround an American Flag flying at half-mast.
Though none of the fallen troops hailed from Michigan, their selfless service earned them a spot in hearts across Michigan and across nations; their lives won’t be forgotten.
The empty chair tribute not the only one in town, a spot for the fallen troops saved in places across West Michigan, like at the Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids.
A booth is now reserved, adorned with flowers and 13 beers for our heroes, who sacrificed everything so others could find hope and freedom.
Know of any other tributes in our area? Let us know about them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging at on social media.