Saturday, December 25, 2010
Gold Star Christmas
Last week as I was driving into Charleston for some Christmas shopping, I spotted a license plate in front of me that I hadn't seen before here in South Carolina, the Gold Star Family plate. It was accompanied by a back window decal that was in memory of a fallen Marine, gone before he was 25.
It filled me with a profound sense of grief and sadness and left a little black cloud over my day. I actually had to wipe away a tear or three.
If your state doesn't remember the sacrifices of their Gold Star Families with a special plate, then you need to get with your local state representatives and ask them why.
Today is Christmas Day, and as we gather with our families, friends, and loved ones, there are over 5800 families who lost a family member in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today there's an empty place in their hearts. Today they're missing their lost troop. Today I say a huge thank you to those families for your sacrifice, both as an American and a Veteran.
I wasn't able to catch the name of that fallen Marine memorialized on the back window of that car last week. I only saw that he was born in 1986 and died this past March. I can't thank his family here personally. However, I can thank the family of another South Carolina Marine who joined the ranks of the Gold Star Families this week.
Lance Corporal William H. "Billy" Crouse IV of Woodruff, who grew up in Indiana, lost his life along with his bomb dog Cane in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Tuesday. Billy was just 22, born a few days before I graduated from Military Police School with the Army, and had only been in Afghanistan for about 6 weeks. His mom was quoted by a newspaper as saying that her son's dying concern was for his dog. "My son was coherent for a brief period, and his biggest concern was 'where is my dog? Save my dog. Put him in the Medevac with me. Save his life,'" she said. The dog was put in the helicopter with Crouse but died.
Billy Crouse returned home yesterday when his flight touched down at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware. Welcome home, Marine. Semper Fi.
Merry Christmas to our Gold Star Families, and to our Blue Star Families who have a service member overseas right now at the holidays. God Bless You All.