TO GOLD STAR FLIGHTS
In May on our yearly trip to Arlington to celebrate the life of my husband and my daughters father. We have done this for 5 years at the point in time getting ready to embark on our 6th year this may.... our daughters have gown up at Arlington spending family time around a white marble head stone that adorns the name of our beloved hero. This is where we have spent countless hours of their childhood in the only place that we feel complete.
When Kevin first passed away the girls and I made frequent trips to Arlington driving the 10 hours which would always turn into 12+ with food, gas and bathroom stops. As time has gone on and our daughters have been growing up we have found it harder and harder to get to Arlington... between sports and schooling the only time we can travel is the weekends and then with that it's one full day to travel there and back so we are only able to spend from sun up to sun down with Kevin. We have learned to budget money for this trip year to year but unfortunately if my car breaks down, the house has something break or something unforeseen happens I have to take some of that money to fix whatever it might be. Flying has never been an option for us as it costs too much for the 3 of us to fly, rent a car, pay for hotel, food. It is a struggle some years to even be able to make it there because of some of those unfortunate events happening.
Being able to travel by plane would mean more time with Kevin; it means more smiles, giggles, tears, healing, closure and FAMILY time. Saving money on a fixed income 40%+ less then you use to get is extremely hard..
In the last 5 1/2 years I have watched my girls grow up here. I have watched their hair grow longer their personalities develop, I watched Eden do her first cartwheel on that hallowed ground with her daddy watching from above, I've watched my young children grow up far to fast here. We have celebrated daddy's birthday with his favorite chocolate cake, balloons and a good old fashioned water gun fight amongst these headstones. I have tried to keep a sense of normalcy with my children after their worlds shattered and our biggest supporter hasn't been here physically, i know he's always in our heart and we carry him every day but being so far away it's hard...
Kevin is buried at Arlington because that's where he deserves to be, I could have buried him at the veterans cemetery in Maine where I live but I didn't think he belonged there, I thought he deserved to be in the most prestigious place on earth, on hallowed ground that was meant for his soul and his amazing dedication to god corps and country.
In May of 2015 just before we were leaving the cemetery to head home my 9 almost 10 year old daughter Stephanie asked if she could have a minute alone with daddy, of course the answer was and always will be yes. I put something in the car and looked up to see where she was, she was still standing by the car. I watched her take a deep breath and walk out to his stone... she stood in front for a second kissed her hand and placed it on the top of his stone then she walked around his stone and sat behind him leaning on him. I watched from the grass next to the car for a few minutes and as I watched her face go from content to intense pain I watched as she cried out in extreme pain, I could hear her from the road.... my heart broke with every cry out from her I watched as she went from sitting behind to laying hear head on his stone to laying down next to him to try and get closer to him. My heart broke into a million pieces as I watched my daughter do something she had NEVER done before, even when I told her that he passed away when she was just 5 years old she sat silent with tears rolling down her face while her sister Eden (3 years old) asked questions in her little voice... I watched Stephanie in her true realization of what being there meant. In that moment I think she found it was her place to be able to cry it out with no one telling her she's wrong. She found her safe place and it just so happens to be at her dads final resting place.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am the gold Star Wife of SSG Kyle Eggers. Kyle was killed in action while serving with the army in Iraq on Dec 5th 2004.
Kyle and I have three sons together, Tegan and Kaden who are 15 and Zane who is 13.
When Kyle passed we had never discussed where he would like to be buried so I made the hard decision to bury him in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery near his parents.
The boys and I lived in Oklahoma from the summer of 2005 until the spring of 2008 and we're able to visit the cemetery on a regular basis. Since moving back to the NW visiting the cemetery or my husband is very has become very difficult.
I am now the mom of five boys and I own a farm. We live paycheck to paycheck while trying to support our large family, critters and the boys and their sports. Flying six people is very expensive. With a program like Gold Star flights, I would be humbled and honored to be able to visit my husband and many other Hero's final resting place.
Without it the boys would have to give up sports and their horses for us to be able to afford the plane tickets. Sports keep them active and their horses we call therapy as it is relaxing and help them refocus and I believe it would be detrimental to take those away from them. I have already cut every expense I can to make sure they are able to participate in these things.
Thank you for your consideration in supporting Gold Star Flights and honoring the Heroes we have lost and their families.