It is a word at the core of every man and woman serving in our Armed Forces.

Honoring the values and freedoms of our country often leads them into danger, as they dedicate their lives to something bigger than themselves. When our veterans sacrifice their lives, we cannot forget the sacrifice their families have also made and continue to make to our country. 

I am proud that I served honorably in the U.S. Army for 21 years of active service.    

My college fraternity identified five Goldstar families from the Daytona-Halifax, Florida, area where their loved ones had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  On the evening of November 4, the Omicron Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. recognized and made dedication to five Volusia County Goldstar families by honoring their fallen heroes.  All these veterans served honorably during the Vietnam War.

I was so moved by the touching tribute from the daughter of a solider who lost his life when she was only one year old. She was overwhelmed with emotion as she recalled only vague memories of him, but vividly all the wonderful things she had been told about him her entire life.

Calvin Robinson, another Goldstar family member, was 10 years old at the time of his brother’s death. He starkly recalled the day his family was notified. One morning 50 years ago, as he and his older brother headed off to school, they saw two white gentlemen dressed in their full military dress uniform approaching their house. As they turned around to look at their father on the porch, he instructed them to continue on to school. When they returned home, they were shocked by the swarm of people. Helicopters, police cars, news stations – all surrounded their house. Calvin recalls entering the house in shock and finding his father collapsed across the bed in utter grief, where he informed 10-year-old Calvin that his other brother was killed in Vietnam. 

While sharing his story, Calvin had to pause for several minutes, some of the longest and most painful minutes I’ve experienced in a long time, as the grief and pain of 50 years without his brother reared its ugly head in real time. 

It was one of the most moving experiences many of the chapter members had ever experienced.  It was one of the most moving experiences I have ever experienced.

Once Calvin regained control of his composure, he shared with us that his brother had never been recognized in a way that honored him as he truly deserved – in the most dignified way—until now. I will always carry with me how these families were finally able to find some long-overdue closure during this event, and the moments they took to share that with us.

I am proud to be a part of an organization today that honors those individuals that have served in any branch of our armed forces to reserve and secure the very freedom we all continue to enjoy!