HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Almost 10 years since the U.S. entered the 'War on Terror', nearly 6,000 service members have died. Now, there is a special place for those dealing with the tragic loss of their loved ones.
Fifteen families from Hawaii and the mainland gathered at Fort Shafter for the grand opening of the first of its kind survivor services outreach center. It's called "Hali'a Aloha" which, in Hawaiian, means "cherished" or "loving memory".
"This center will be a haven of comfort that will embrace all survivors and cherish the memories of the fallen," said U.S. Army MG Michael Terry.
There's an "Ohana Room"; a place to view photos of the fallen heroes and read short stories written about them by those who knew them best.
"It's kind of tough because one of the fallen was close to me. I was his youth counselor at the Hawaii Guard Youth Challenge and I actually encouraged him to join the armed forces," said an emotional Daniel Copp.
The center provides a sense of comfort to Brandy Williams who lost her husband Randy, the first Hawaii soldier killed in the War on Terror, back in 2003.
"It was really hard for me in the beginning. I didn't have any place to go. I felt I didn't have any support," said Williams.
This center offers her a sense of comfort knowing her husband's sacrifice will never be forgotten. For their seven year old daughter Monica, it's a chance to learn more about the father she never met.
"I never got to see him in real life but I have lots of pictures at home of him and I'm very lucky I have pictures of him," said Monica Williams.
At Hali'a Aloha, families will also be able to get help from grief counselors, get financial counseling and learn more about support groups in the community.