Heroes' Bedroom Memorials

For the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, the growing death toll is much more than a statistic...grieving families across the country are paying tribute to their fallen children by leaving their bedrooms just the way they were

INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent walks into what could be the bedroom of any American young man, but this room is special. It belongs to a fallen American hero; memories of a life forever frozen in time.

"Did it ever occur to you to change it?" Les Trent asks Janet Scherer.

"No," she says.

Marine Corporal Christopher Scherer's childhood bedroom is just the way he left it when he shipped off to Iraq. On July 21, 2007, he was killed by a sniper's bullet. He had just turned 21.

"They went away and fought and died as men, but here they're little boys," Janet says.

And across the country, countless families of fallen heroes have also preserved their bedrooms.

Photographer Ashley Gilbertson made the phenomenon the subject of a compelling New York Times photo essay titled "A Shrine Down the Hall."  

"We have to remember and honor who these people are," says Gilbertson.

He showed Les Trent a photo of an upstate New York bedroom that belonged to Private First Class Jack T. Sweet.

"Jack's laundry still smells like him. His family left this laundry unwashed for the last two years," said Gilbertson.

Another photo shows the bedroom of Private First Class Karina Lau of California. Her teddy bear is still on the bed.
There are times when Janet clearly fights back tear while surrounded by bits and pieces of her son's childhood.

"Some people might think that this is too painful a memory to have," says Trent.

Janet says, "To me no, these are memories that I treasure."

Scherer's commendation medal for valor, and his Purple Heart, along with his equally prized collection of sports memorabilia, countless stickers, and posters still decorate the walls.

The memories give his parents the feeling of forever holding him close in their hearts.

"He's a hero, but he's still our little boy," says Scherer's father Tim.