It's been nearly three years since the end of the Iraq War, but for friends and family of the more than 4,000 U.S. armed service members who lost their lives, memories are still painfully fresh. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on a local woman who’s created a permanent tribute to each and every one of those men and women.
MIDDLE GROVE, N.Y. – “While the war is over, the losses for these people are not over," said Caren Baker, a longtime Saratoga County resident.
Neatly spread over a lush acre of her Middle Grove property, Caren Baker has created a living and vibrant monument to America's fallen heroes.
"Each one of these flowers represents a human being who we've all lost," Baker said Monday evening.
Planted one by one last year, 4,486 bright, yellow daffodils dot her lawn in full bloom, each one, representing a U.S. armed service member who gave their life fighting in Iraq.
"To the husbands, the children, the mothers, the fathers, the loss is so great, but I want them to come and remember them," said Baker, whose home sits along Route 29.
A year-and-a-half after the war began, Baker began placing small yellow flags in her yard. There were more than 800 that first year alone.
Opting for a more permanent tribute, the remnants of those flags now make up a wreath at the center of the field.
"A little irony, a little sadness and respect for those who have given their lives for our country," reflected Saratoga Springs resident James Mihuta.
In the years since Baker's project began, her yard has attracted countless visitors like James Mihuta and his wife who stopped by Monday to see the flowers before they're gone for the season. While they will grow back next spring, they offer a chilling reminder of the men and women who are gone forever.
"It's eternal,” Mihuta said. “If we se e the flowers, we'll never forget their sacrifice and we can see it every year. I think it's a beautiful concept."
"I'm glad that there is this place and this space to have people come and remember," Baker said.
Baker says she welcomes members of the public to stop by and visit the field. Her property is at the intersection of Route 29 and Middle Line Road.