PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A moving memorial honoring military men and women is in our area.

It is a powerful sight that will only be here for a few more hours and those who have seen it say it is worth checking out.

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The paintings are life-like in both size and detail.

The men in the pictures were all members of the Lima Company, which was a Marine reserve unit from Columbus, Ohio.

In 2005, they were serving in western Iraq, when two roadside bombs devastated the group.

More than 20 lives were lost.

“The May 11 blast, we lost six of the guys on my vehicle and just dumb luck I was able to be aided, to be helped and they kept me alive and I think it’s to do this. I’m just a lucky guy,” The Eyes Of Freedom Director Mike Strahle said.

The idea started with Ohio artist Anita Miller.

She was heartbroken after hearing the news of so many young lives taken too soon.

“She reached out to the families for permission and for photos to work from and two and a half years of hard work from her and she created these amazing paintings,” Strahle said.

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The memorial travels all over the nation.

For now, it’s here at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute in Oakdale.

At first, it was tough for Strahle to look at the paintings. Now, they’ve become a point of healing.

What started off as a memorial to 23 fallen heroes now represents much more.

“People who don’t know these guys look at them, maybe a veteran looks at them and it reminds them of somebody they served with back in Vietnam or Korea,” Strahle said.

The boots in front of the paintings are spare boots provided by the families. People often put notes and leave mementos inside.

“Once those boots fill up, we just put it on a chain and it goes back to mom and dad and there’s a bunch of strangers from all over the country that are wanting to still say thank you,” Strahle said.

The memorial will be open to the public until 8 p.m. Tuesday and from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Wednesday

From here, it will travel to Huntingdon, W. Va.

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