A Mother's Perspective...
A Little Background...
My children were born during peacetime and I never thought either of my sons would say "I want to join the military". But one did! My son Ryan, spent a year out of high school studying every aspect of our military services, speaking to all recruiters, and decided he wanted to be a Marine. Ryan's goal was to be part of the Marine Security Forces which he achieved.
A Peacetime Military Threat
After all of his training, he went overseas to protect the Monai Compound in the Middle East. At the time, Bahrain was considered the third highest worldwide threat to our troops... While Ryan was in Bahrain, the USS Cole was bombed on October 12, 2000, and he volunteered to guard it.
He was on duty and was turned down. Marines in his unit were pulled from Bahrain because it was the closest point to the terrorist attack.
Notice the date on the picture. It was taken 2 days after the Cole was bombed. At the time I did not know that his unit was on high alert and was combat ready. They were the closest troops to where the Cole was bombed. They could throw a stone and hit Iran, Iraq or Syria.
A Piece of Your Heart
When your children go overseas to protect the interests of our nation, a piece of your heart goes with them. Every night and every morning you pray for their safe return. As a mother, you are helpless to protect them. You put their safety in your country's hands. There is nothing more satisfying then seeing them come home.
A Special Thank you For Gold Star Moms and Families
We can never know the uncommon and exceptional pain that Gold Star families go through every day, but we can be there to support them in every way possible. I pray for them ...that their pain will lessen over time.
Every Day Is Memorial Day For The Caretakers of the Fallen
After being discharged, Ryan's Journey took him to Riverside National Cemetery where he found rewarding employment. Part of his duties included burial detail and support for the families of the Fallen. During those holidays, including Veterans Day, Independence Day and of course Memorial Day, it was all hands on deck.
What's It Like To Be A Caretaker?
A former Caretaker stated this when asked what it was like to work at Riverside National Cemetery:
"This is a place where you can go to work and know that you made a difference for someone. Where the employees have the honor and privilege to lay Heroes to rest and provide their families with heartfelt service".
It Is Up To Us...
I would hope there is no dispute that those who join our military forces and deploy to defend the Constitution and the homeland leave a piece of their heart either on the battlefield or back at home when they return. Some don't survive, but some survive to find themselves in a unique place, some may call it purgatory or limbo, maybe a loss of innocence, and only those who have been there can understand that place. It is our responsibility to help any way we can. Learn more about military suicide here.
My son continues to work in the service of our country and for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Two months ago he transferred to the Veteran Hospital in Loma Linda California. I am very proud of the service he has given to our country and I pray for him every day.
Aerial Video of Riverside National Cemetery
FPV UAV video by pilot David Slack, Corona CA 2012.