PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Debbie Lombard says from the moment she heard about the "Fallen Heroes Wreath Program," she knew she had to attend to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and to let the world know that these heroes will never be forgotten.
"It just touched my heart when I found out about this, I just couldn't let it rest, I just had to be there," she said.
But there was another very special reason Debbie had to be there.
"The family tree is ending with me, so I was just amazed that people were remembering my great great great grandfather who died of a gunshot wound 103 years ago."
In 1914, long before Debbie was around, her family lost one of their own.
"God bless the people that keep this gentleman alive, this gentleman died 103 years ago and we're speaking his name and honoring him," Len Lombard said. "I think that's wonderful."
Debbie and her husband, Len, from Payson made the trip not only to remember the fallen, but also to show the living loved ones that the legacy of those lost will never be forgotten. It's all been made possible by Arizona program coordinator Erin Morgan.
"If you lose a loved one, just because people are around you in the first months, doesn't mean that in the months and years following that it gets easier, it never gets easier," she said.
Erin says it's always tough to lose a loved one, but the holidays can be especially painful, and that's why it's her mission to never let anyone feel alone.
"They made the ultimate sacrifice, they put their lives on the line to protect us and their families should know that we haven't forgotten that," she said. "They didn't die in vain, their memories are living on."