Monday, 11/11/2019, is Veterans Day. This is the day we remember and celebrate those that gave to our freedoms by serving in the military. This day is for those soldiers that returned home but sadly, many never had that opportunity. We seldom realize the price the family members pay when their loved ones say goodbye. One parent is left with all the responsibilities of the home and family while everyday worries cross their mind about their soldier. The most terrifying fear is that they will have the knock at the door informing them of their loved one’s death while serving. For three women, this fear became a reality. After the grief process, these three Gold Star women, Ryan Manion, Heather Kelly, Amy Looney, linked forever by unimaginable loss, shared their inspiring, unlikely journey that began on the worst day of their lives.
Three Gold Star women visited “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday to share details about their inspiring journeys detailed in their new book.
Manion explained how she felt when she first found out her younger brother, Travis Manion, was killed while serving in Iraq in 2007. Travis was deployed to Iraq in 2005.
“It was a tragic time for my family but we really resolved after his death to make sure that we found purpose with his death and to make sure we continued his service,” Manion said.
Looney’s husband, Brendan, a Navy SEAL, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Brendan was due back home within days of the accident.
Looney said that the news “changed her life.”
“Your life looks one way at this time and then within a matter of an instant it’s just changed immediately forever,” said Looney.
“I woke up in the middle of the night to Marines at my door to give that worst news,” said Kelly, who also lost her husband in Afghanistan.
Kelly went on to say, “In that moment, your future crumbles; it’s hard to imagine that there’s going to be something else outside of that moment where you sit there and they come to notify you that your spouse is gone.”
This book is for anyone who has ever received a knock at the door. And if you live long enough and have the courage to love others, you will. Maybe it’s a cancer diagnosis. Maybe it’s the death of your best friend. The betrayal of a spouse. The loss of a child. The implosion of a professional career. Or any tragedy that takes the person we love the most away from us too soon.
Life is not without its challenges. The key is how you respond. This is our story. Grief because we lost our best friends in war. Purpose because we resolved — together — to do something about it. To turn loss into inspiration for others and to channel the love that we had for the men in our lives into love for others through service. It was the only way we could escape the trap of despair and inaction, and we believe it offers a road-map for anyone else who has ever had to answer a knock at the door.
All of the women work at the Travis Manion Foundation, a non-profit that empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. Manion said that they all found their purpose by giving back in honor of them.
“We found that the greatest way to channel your grief is to be in service to others,” Manion said.
The book is a hardcover, 288 pages, and was published November 5th 2019 by Center Street. It is now available on Amazon and at your local bookstores.
Ref. cokesbury.com, foxnews.com, FOX NEWS
Photo courtesy of Bing via cokesbury.com