Memorial Day is a bitter sweet weekend for me. See, I lost my only biological child in Afghanistan Dec, 1, 2010 while in combat and his birthday is May 25th. I want to honor him for his service and sacrificing all, but at the same time, I no longer have him here with me. It is a very difficult weekend to say the least.
This year would have been his “Golden Birthday” (25 years old on the 25th). I’ve always made the Golden Birthday a big deal for all my nieces and nephews and had planned to make Chad’s a big deal as well. Instead, I plan to take his favorite desert (he really only had one), “no-bake” cookies as well as 25 orange roses to the staff at the Fayetteville National Cemetery on Friday at noon. They do such an amazing job that I like to take special moments like this to thank them for all they do. Tebo and I will go to the cemetery on Saturday and lay 25 roses at Chad’s resting place. I’m not sure what else we will do, but I do know that Tebo gets a little treat on Chad’s birthdays now. I get an extra box of the “no-bakes” for him to have at home.
I was asked by the staff at the cemetery if I would consider participating in the Memorial Day ceremony they will hold at the cemetery on Monday and they were asking Gold Star Moms to participate. I couldn’t answer her at the time as I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that when this weekend approached. Last night I decided I would most likely participate and had planned to tell them when I delivered their goodies on Friday. I know it will be emotional to say the very least (it would under any circumstances), but at the same time, he gave all like so many others and he deserves to be honored just as the others are.
I was surprised by a special gift from one of Chad’s Marine buddies yesterday. He had a brick at the winding pathways of Semper Fidelis Memorial Park with Chad’s name and “Forever Loved” “Never Forgotten” engraved on it. What a gift! I was truly at a loss for words when I first opened it and then I was filled with honor and pride. These young men love my son in a way that no one will ever be able to do. The fact that he would honor Chad in this way truly fills my heart with so much joy that it is truly hard to put into mere words. Thank you Rob and thank you to all Chad’s Marine Corps buddies for not only loving him like you do, but for continuing to love Tebo and I for him. You are forever in our hearts.
So as Memorial Day approaches and you get the chance thank a veteran. I know this holiday is to honor those fallen heroes, but they can’t appreciate that like the ones left behind. These young men and women live with what they saw over there and they live with the fact that they have a fallen bretheren and those are things they never get over. If you are able, buy them a meal or a cup of coffee or fill up their gas tank. Do something to show your gratitude. They deserve so much more and if I could I would do something for each and every one of them.
So for all our Fallen Heroes, thank you and you will never be forgotten! For those who have served and are currently serving, thank you. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t stop and think about the service and sacrifice you are all making for all of us.