Mother's Day didn't start off well.
For a long time after Ken was killed in Iraq nearly 2 years ago, I would stand in the shower and cry until the water turned cold. I couldn't tell the difference between tears and the shower; I didn't want to know and I didn't care anyway. I still cannot imagine how one person can cry so many tears for hours and days and months. I had one of those showers Mother's Day morning. Even if I hadn't wanted to cry, it wasn't under my control.
Having spent the weekend in Washington DC with other military families, many of them, my fellow Gold Star Moms and Dads, it seemed fitting we spend Mothers Day morning at Arlington with our “boys”.
Many people ask me why Ken is buried at Arlington and it is complicated and simple at the same time;there are many reasons. One of the reasons is that Ken has many more visitors at Arlington than he would in California. I like knowing that people visit Ken. He loved being a soldier and when he died, his life became a part of the history of this country, and for a soldier, where else should you be buried?
Three moms from our group, Gold Star Families Speak Out have our boys buried at Arlington, Tia, Diane and me. Tia and Diane & Neil Sr live on the east coast so they are able to visit more often. I know when they visit David & Neil, Jr, they visit Ken, also . I like knowing that.
Diane had written a few passages and prayers, so we had sort of a prayer service this morning. Besides, Tia and Neil & Diane, there was Celeste, Al and Raphael, Sherwood's parents and brother; Sue & Greg, Seth's mom and stepdad; Summer, Steven's mom; Carlos & Melida, Alex's dad and step mom; Elaine, Darrius' mom; Derek & Lorene, Seamus's mom & dad. We were a mournful group joined by some of our Blue Star friends, Charlie & Nancy from Military Families Speak Out and some others. How brave they were to be in our world.
When I stand at Ken's grave at Arlington, I am fiercely angry to think that people accuse me of being unpatriotic because I do not support the president. I want those people to come and stand with me or any Gold Star parent for that matter. I want them to look out at rows and rows and rows of these white granite headstones. Ken was the 89th soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan when he was buried on October 22, 2004 in Section 60. Since then, nearly 150 soldiers more have been buried at Arlington.
I know the president goes to Arlington for official purposes; laying the wreath at the unknown. All of that looks good in the media, but it is so removed from the reality of this war. I wonder if this president has ever walked through Section 60. Has he read the names and wondered about the lives and promises lost? I don't think so and I don't think he cares anyway.