LUBBOCK, Texas — Dozens of veterans and community members gathered to honor Gold Star Mother’s Day at Lubbock’s Monument of Courage on Sunday afternoon. The day was established to honor military families and their loved ones who lost their lives while fighting for freedom.
“My son was Staff Sargent Steve Morin, Jr. He was killed in Iraq in 2005. Tomorrow would be 15 years ago that he passed away,” said Audrey Morin, a Gold Star Mother. “I miss him very much. I mean, so very much. I’m very proud of him, though, for going to the military.”
It was an emotional ceremony for parents like Ms. Morin. Several other families were there to remember the lives their children dedicated while fighting for their country.
However, the ceremony was about much more than remembering what was lost.
“So we export our treasure, to bring freedom to walk the world,” said Lubbock VFW Commander Benny Guerrero. “And today is to honor those families in, bring that treasure. They’ve come back. We’re telling them that we appreciate their sacrifice.”
Members of the Purple Heart Chapter and Patriot Guard Riders also gathered to support the ceremony. The Gold Star Monument was unveiled last month. During Sunday’s ceremony, VFW leaders acknowledged the significance of the memorial’s design.
“If you take a look of the monument right behind me, that monument that the middle one has, is dedicated to Gold Star families,” said Guerrero. “And you see the cutout of a soldier of the silhouette. And that’s a hole in the heart. And today we’re doing everything we can to try and feel a little bit of that hole.”
Guerrero explained that it can be difficult for those who have lost a loved one to share their experience.
“It’s a little bit hard to tell your story. When, when there’s a hole in your heart, it’s just hard to talk,” he said. “And right now we’re asking those families that come out of the shadows come out, let us recognize you. And thank you for your sacrifice and honor you.”
Family members were given a yellow rose to honor the sacrifice their loved one made. Although they can’t ignore the pain they’ve endured, Gold Star Families explained that they embrace the legacy their heroes have left behind.
“She’s my hero,” said Susan Caballero Turner, who lost her sister, Sargent Virginia Caballero in 2014.
“Always been proud of her. We’ve always been proud. Well, she wanted an adventurous life. That’s what she wanted. And she got it,” said Gold Star Mother Mary Caballero – also Virginia’s mother.
Morin explained that despite the pain that has come with losing her son, she is glad to have a supportive community of other Gold Star Mothers by her side.
“We try really hard not to go around looking sad all the time or anything like that, make people feel sorry for us because that’s not what we want,” said Morin. “We want to honor our children. That’s what we, want to do. And so today, I’m very glad to see this ladies here with me and join me to work together in our pain. But we’re brave and we’re very proud of our children.”