KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Loved ones of fallen military service members gathered at the Historic Ramsey House Sunday afternoon to commemorate National Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day.
The remembrance day takes place every year on the last Sunday of September to honor the families of American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice; families are able to remember their loved ones as heroes, share their grief and show support for each other in ceremonies and events held on the National Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day.
In Knoxville, the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation hosted the event where Knoxville families were honored for their loved ones’ sacrifice.
Being a part of Gold Star Mother’s Day is something Sherrie McGhee has grown accustomed to. Her son, Corporal Ryan Casey McGhee was killed in action in Iraq in 2009.
“One of the biggest fears, and you can ask any Gold Star Family, is that their son or daughter, mother, father, whoever it would be that is a fallen hero, will be forgotten,” McGhee said.
CPL McGhee was an Army Ranger who was on his fourth tour when he was killed.
“They continue to live because a soldier dies twice, he dies when he actually takes his last breath, and he dies forever if his name is never said again. Knoxville, Tennessee is notorious for making sure our fallen heroes are not forgotten, as you heard, their names were said,” his mom said at the ceremony.
She added that being a part of Gold Star Mothers has been a comfort in the midst of tragedy.
“No one understands what you’ve been through until they themselves have been through it. A lot of people will say, ‘Can’t you get over it?’ We all know you never get over it, you learn to live with it, and that brings solace when we’re with each other, you don’t feel out of place when we’re with each other,” she said.
Though their loved ones are no longer with them, the mothers work to continue their legacy.
“We continue forward with their mission, and that is to serve our veterans. I know Ryan, if he were alive he would want to continue helping the veterans for sure. I know he would also work with those that have PTSD. Ryan, like I said, was killed in action on May 13th, 2009, but he had a soft spot for people who were hurting,” she said.
McGhee also encouraged anyone else who lost a family member in the military to get involved with Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day or another cause.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated.