This story from CBS Evening News on Feb. 11, 2019 is a story about a man, about his wife and family, and the reality of the cost of freedom that Gold Star families around this country know too well.
You will be moved by the quality of the man, whose character we know only through the stories that those left behind can tell us about him now. But you will also see, in the person of his wife, a woman of immense dignity and strength with an important story to tell us all about that great and painful cost of freedom.
I can not say what needs to be said better than this young woman and mother of three. Her loss, and that which her children know now only partially in their still so young years, is greater than anything most of us can imagine.
Her husband was killed while on his 7th deployment to Afghanistan. Yes. You heard that right, his 7th deployment. He was not only one of the best and most dedicated of our modern warriors, he was a man clearly dedicated to his family, but also to his fallen brothers and the families they left behind.
This family has now joined the ranks of our nation’s Gold Star families.
You will hear how this young soldier’s dedication and concern for his fallen brothers and sisters led him to form an organization in his home state of Massachusetts to make sure that neither their sacrifice, nor that of the families they left behind would be forgotten. He helped to establish the first memorial in the nation to do this. Ironically now his name will be etched into it.
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But pay attention to this young mother. You will see the pain of her loss and that of her children, but even more so, you will see her strength, her nobility of character, her courage, and her dignity. You will also see that her service to the nation as the wife of a truly heroic, selfless warrior, and the mother of his their children, has been and continues to be profoundly sacrificial.
We must never forget those who have fallen. But even more importantly, we must commit ourselves to the service of the Gold Star families they left behind. After the military burial ceremonies and honors are over they, all too often, are forgotten and the news cycle moves on to other stories.
This powerful story of heroism, love, family, and the sacrifices made by those who serve abroad and at home, will bring you into a painful reality. But it must not be forgotten. We must remember those who have fallen. But we have a duty to remember and care for the Gold Star families who must go on without their loved one.
These are the kind of soldiers, wives and families that show us our better angels.
The Veterans Site is dedicated to our military and telling their stories. That includes the stories of their families who wait and worry, care for the children, and keep things as normal as possible back here on the homefront.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.