Gold Star Dad

The thoughts of a father who has lost a son to war

Archive for May, 2012

Finding Micheal

Posted by fozzynok on 05/28/2012

My wife and I attended the Memorial Day services at the Woodring Wall of Honor in Enid Oklahoma today and was glad that I had the time to do so. We were shown the different granite stones with the names of the fallen on them, and it took a while, but did find Micheal’s name among them. I kind of got a funny familiar feeling as it reminded me of the day I went to turn Micheal blue at Ft Benning.

For those who do not know, the short description is that it is a ceremony where a family member or higher rank places the blue infantry cord upon the shoulder of the soldier basically welcoming him into the infantry brotherhood. At the time of this event the company or unit is called to attention then dismiss for a few moments to allow those in the crowd to go out among the new infantrymen to present and affix the cord and “turn them blue”.

It was a great honor to do so as I had no one there to turn me blue except one of the DI’s (Vietnam Vet 101st ABN). The problem was that when they released us, we had to go and find our sons in a parade ground full of razor sharp, tan, fit and rather bald fine young men that were hardly recognizable from the somewhat shaggy and sometimes slouchy kids we had sent to them months earlier..

Today the search for his name on the granite walls reminded me of the search for him on that parade ground.. The second I saw him.. I was filled with and almost overwhelming sense of pride.. Today was no different. All together he was hidden in a sea of uniformed rows of wonderful military men… but once you see him, he is Micheal.. and I guess that’s the only difference.

Today is the day for the country to mourn our losses as a group..to be included for a short period of time in what our lives have become for the rest of our time on the planet.. I guess for the rest, forcing one day has to be enough. I do wish sometimes for the days when that’s all I had to do.

Enid Wall

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The Fallen have Families too….

Posted by fozzynok on 05/08/2012

Gold Star Mother MonumentGold Star Mothers….
Yeah, it’s a topic that people probably stay away from. Well people aren’t me and I’m not really what I call people. I was reading my social network’s daily updates and came across one that had pictures of the “Gold Star Mothers” memorial, it has got to be one of the most disturbing memorials that I have ever seen and after the loss of Micheal, one of the things that had become glaringly apparent was that since WW2 and maybe even before, society has decided to pretend that Mothers are the only ones on the planet that lose their loved ones in wars. 

The monument has a mother (obviously) sitting in a chair at what depicts to me the funeral of her child. She is all alone clutching onto the folded flag with a look on her face that tells the story of her loss. The monument really hurts me to look at it as it could BE modeled after my wife. The crushed look is something that I don’t really want to be memorialized. That moment of the folded flag is one that I see in nightmares.. not memorials.

I understand that this is not true nor do the mothers even have some sort of weird cabal that has made this the fact that it is. This is another one of those old society hold backs where men do not cry and children are to be seen and not heard. I covered my feelings on this a while back on another blog that I wrote. Mothers lose their babies. I understand that there is a special bond between mothers and their children. I get it! What I do not understand is why there is supposedly less a bond between fathers and their sons and the bonds of siblings?

We all got the news that day that Micheal was never coming home. We ALL received the news, we ALL lost Micheal and we all will never be able to change that fact. We all held Micheal in our hearts and lives in a different way. We all knew the same Micheal, but we all knew him differently. To say that any of us missed him more is just unfair and one of the most unjust parts of this whole thing. I hope that this doesn’t come off as me being a big jerk, but after the last few years, I’ve kind of stopped caring what some people think of me.

For the record, I do not believe that Gold Star Mother should be promoted as a single entity anymore.  It’s as old-fashioned and as wrong as thinking that only men are out there in the world fighting in our wars. The flag was folded and the General approached and handed the flag to my wife, spoke to her and them moved away,  I had to stand there and watch as people.. complete strangers waded in to pay their respects on one single person, an overwhelmed and mentally and emotionally drained woman… my wife.  I was trampled on their fervor to pay respects to my wife.

I had my family there together yet no one really seemed to notice, My next oldest son who had lost his brother and best friend, My daughter who lost more than that and the same, and a little brother who will never really understand. The day was one of the longest in my life and I will never refer to a gold star in any way differently due to their pecking order in their lost loved one’s life. I think it’s a shame that there are anything but gold star families..  My son and all of the fallen have Gold Star Families. 

For those who understand, Thank you.. for those who do not and want to get mad at me.. that’s fine too. 

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