Fall River County, SD
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of a deadly C-130 crash in the Black Hills that killed four members of the North Carolina National Guard fighting the White Draw Wildfire last July.
"May this site serve as a perpetual reminder of how the North Carolina National Guard came to our aid when we needed them," South Dakota National Guard's Maj. Gen. Timothy Reisch said.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the site was built to honor these men but it was also built to comfort you, and that is one of our dreams," South Dakota Lt. Governor Matt Michels said.
Family members of the airmen who died were at the ceremony, along with one of the crash survivors.
"May your hope return, may you know it well, and may none of us standing here today forget that it is all about serving others before we serve ourselves," North Carolina National Guard Chaplain Lt. Col. Joel Yow said.
"We, the people of South Dakota, love you. We love you and we love the person who was lost in the service to our country and our state," Michels said.
The memorial is right off Highway 18, not far from Edgemont and two miles away from the site of the crash.
The land around the memorial is still scarred from the White Draw fire, which burned roughly 9,000 acres. Officials hope the site will not only remind people about the fire, but help people living here remember the sacrifice made by North Carolina guardsmen on our state's behalf.
"Our gratitude for what these men did, and for what you have done and given as a family, will never fade. It will never fade," Michels said.
Community members in South Dakota and North Carolina raised nearly $4,000 to build the memorial.