In February 2012, Gold Star Families of 109 Marines, soldiers, sailors or airmen lost in Iraq or Afghanistan since 9/11 came to the Marines' Memorial Club in San Francisco to network with each other and to help each other with the grieving process. In the past seven years, we have worked with more than 600 Gold Star families.
This year, we invited Lieutenant General John Kelly, USMC to speak to the Gold Star families. Gen Kelly and his wife, Karen, are also Gold Star parents, having lost their son, 2ndLt Robert Kelly USMC, on 9 November 2010 in Afghanistan. Here are LtGen Kelly's remarks:
I never met any of your loved ones… your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and spouses. I also don’t know how you came to know they were lost in the wars waged today and over the last ten years in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and dozens of other locations around the world. I don’t know the details, but the stories are ultimately all the same. Most often it started with a knock on the door, or a ring of the doorbell in the early morning hours by a casualty officer who’d been sitting outside your house waiting anxiously for hours for the first lights to come on. He dreaded the mission he’d been assigned that day. He was not glad to be there, but he was privileged to be there as the duty is a sacred one. It is an honor to be called to do it. Most often the casualty officer is a complete stranger. Sometimes he’s your best friend. The minute you saw him standing there framed in the doorway you knew…you knew without being told…before he uttered his first words…you knew.
Go read the rest here: