ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Memorial Day can be an emotional reminder of the sacrifices made by our military men and women, no one knows that better than the mothers and fathers that have lost children to war.
More than 7,000 service men and women have died in war since 2001. Gold Star Mothers is a private non-profit organization for mothers who have lost sons and daughters in service. If you ask them, they’ll tell you it’s a club no one wants to be a part of.
Lisa Chapman and Anginette Morgan know the meaning of sacrifice all too well.
“Kameron was 24 when he passed,” said Chapman.
In fact, it’s the most unthinkable of bonds they share, a parent burying their child. Sgt. Kameron Womack joined the Army upon graduating high school, looking for a way to support his mom and siblings.
“My son wanted to help and make sure we never struggled in life. For him to go and take care of his family while being in the military, I could not stop him from doing that,” said Chapman.
In 2014, he returned to the U.S. after serving seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was then, his mother says, his inner demons got the best of him.
The grief is overwhelming at times. The loss of a son is something Anginette Morgan can relate to. Her son, Sgt. Milton Gist Jr., was a young father to two children. In 2007, just two weeks into his second tour in Iraq, he was killed.
“When I got that phone call from her, I said, ‘Don’t tell me he passed away,’ and she said ‘yes,’ and I dropped to my knees and put out a big scream,” said Morgan.
Both women say the sacrifices their sons made have inspired their nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers. That sacrifice is not going unnoticed by those at AMVETS Post 1.
“If it wasn’t for our veterans and our fallen heroes that sacrificed all, we probably would not have our way of life today,” said Landon Koelling with AMVETS Post 1.
While Memorial Day is a sad reminder of the ultimate sacrifice paid by their sons, they say they’re comforted knowing the world is now a better place.
“The people that are fighting in the war are fighting to keep our freedom free,” Chapman said.
Chapman says every Memorial Day since her son’s passing has served as a family reunion of sorts, allowing everybody to get together not only to celebrate, but to remember her son’s life. But for the first time this year, because of the coronavirus, that won’t happen.