The animals have sacrificed themselves, saving countless number of people.
In all, 62 dogs used by special operations forces in all four branches of the military have been killed in war zones since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
On Monday, 62 miniature American flags representing the fallen dogs were stuck into the ground around a bronze statue of a Belgian Malinois that was dedicated last July in front of the
The sculptured dog -- its ears perked and gaze set on Iron Mike -- is wearing Special Operations combat gear atop a granite pedestal. Set around the statue are pavers with the dogs' names that had died.
Some of the pavers represented dogs used by Australian and
"This is where you'll be able to come see them and pay your respects," he told a crowd of about 300 people.
Yerry, a 43-year-old former Special Operations soldier who retired from the
"For every paver here, that represents -- at a minimum -- one soldier that came home; one
Yet, four U.S. troops who handled dogs have been killed in action. Two were soldiers, one was a Marine and another was in the
On Monday, four large American flags, about 6 feet off the ground, were displayed in memory of the four fallen troops.
Beside them were smaller versions of the U.S. flag, symbolizing their dogs who had been killed.
"These dogs are part of our community, and they will be for the rest of our lives," Galloway said.
Organizers unveiled Monday pavers in memory of three more military dogs killed since the
The dogs -- Flex, Shadow and Jany -- died during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Yerry announced the
The money will be spent on honoring killed military dogs with plaques, paintings or headstones, however their human handlers think is best.
And a third phase is underway: raising more than
Yerry said the concept is new and has not yet been approved by museum officials.
After Monday's service,
"They've saved numerous soldiers' lives, and we've lost them in our place," Kirmse said.
His 16-year-old daughter, Tannre, peered over the dog sculpture and noticed the names on the pavers.
"It definitely makes you feel better that they are recognized, because they don't get enough recognition," Tannre said. "And they definitely should."
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