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Remembering lost futures on Memorial Day

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

As we get ready for Memorial Day 2020 (maybe the weirdest Memorial Day ever), we may find ourselves discussing whether this weekend, the unofficial start of summer, is the time for us to emerge from our coronavirus hibernation. 

As we try to figure out what the future will bring, I am trying to remember that I have a future — unlike those for whom Memorial Day was created. 

I’ve seen firsthand how harrowing and fear-filled the final moments of a service member’s life must be.

In 2006, the Humvee I was riding in west of Tarmiyah, Iraq, barely missed being blown up by a roadside bomb. 

Because of what I saw and heard and reported on as an embedded journalist, I came home with a new-found respect for those who volunteer to protect us. 

But… I CAME HOME. The fallen didn’t.

I know several people who are members of Gold Star families (the designation for families of the fallen) but I’ve never been able to find the right words to appropriately convey my appreciation and sorrow for them. 

One of those people is Mike Broomhead, the newest member of the KTAR airstaff. 

In all the years Mike and I have been friends, I’ve never been able to verbally express to Mike the sadness I feel that his brother, Sergeant Thomas Broomhead, was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, on Memorial Day, 2003 and that Mike doesn’t get a future with Tom. 

My inability to say the right thing means that, on this Memorial Day, I need to DO the right thing, so I’ll be at one of the Memorial Day ceremonies in the Valley this Monday. 

If you can’t make it to one, consider doing for military families via Folds of Honor, an organization that provides scholarships to Gold Star families. You can find them at FoldsOfHonor.org

Or, please consider my local favorite, Military Assistance Mission. 

Military Assistance Mission – or MAM as it’s known – provides financial and morale aid to Arizona’s military families Find MAM at AZMAM.org

MAM was founded by Margy Bons, who lost her son Michael, a US Marine,  in Iraq in 2005. This amazing Gold Star mom hugs every service member she meets. 

Even though Mike Broomhead is not the hugging type, that is exactly what I did when I first saw Mike this morning. Because, as usual, I had no idea what to say.

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