Last week another family in Texas got that knock on the door. The Velez family was notified by military official that their 22 year old son, Army Spc. Andrew Velez was killed in Afghanistan.
The soldier stepped out, and I looked at him until I got up to the door step, and he said we need to talk to your wife also, and I said it's about Andrew and he says lets go inside, and I said no, I don't want to go inside. I said, is my son dead, and he said yes,"Sadly it is not the first knock on the door this family has answered.
In November of 2004, military official notified the family that their 23 year old son, Army Cpl. Jose A. Velez was killed in Fallujah. 2 sons lost in service to their country.
"I can't be angry. I feel like my heart's been pulled out," Roy Velez said Tuesday. "We've done what the Lord allowed us to do for our country."
He's kinder than I would be. Not only was I angry that Ken was killed, I was angry at God. Some days I still am. Ken was on every prayer wheel known to man, Methodists, Jewish, Catholics, you name it, he was on every list. I was touched when people told me they would add his name. I never prayed that Ken would return home; I always asked that he "return home safely". I know some will say that he is home, he is with God, but that's not what I wanted.
Young Andrew was given the option of not returning to combat after his brother was killed, but he told his father "You always do it for your buddy next to you." That is what soldiers will say about being in Iraq. Regardless of what their commander, or commander in chief tells them, their mission is to bring their buddies home.
The Velez family has more than paid the ultimate price. They lost both sons; their only sons. Andrew's wife, Veronica will raise their 5 year old daughter, Jasmine Jade, and her brothers Jordan & Jacob alone. Jose left behind his high school sweetheart, his wife of 2 years.
This is more than one family should have to live with. Roy Velez, the boys father said:
"I think the only thing that really helps me, that really gets me through this is that somebody out there, somebody in the city of Lubbock, somewhere through our great county is praying me through."
We are praying, Roy, we are praying for you and your family and for all the families.