American Gold Star Mothers is a support group for those who have lost loved ones in the military, and an event was held Thursday evening to honor them.
The event, held at the Dr. Hector P. Garcia National Guard Armory, was meant to call attention to National Gold Star Mothers Day, which is Sunday. It was an emotional evening as family members remembered their fallen loved ones in military action around the world.
"It's the worst thing you can do to a mom, is to forget, so it keeps him alive," said Patti McLead, the mother of a fallen soldier. "Keeps people remembering that freedom is definitely not free, and it just keeps Garrett, his picture, out there and people remembering."
McLead was one of over 100 family members who were honored by the American GI Forum at the event. The wall was lined with pictures of the fallen, and the family members were presented with mementos including a service flag adorned with the name of their loved ones.
The keynote speaker for the evening was State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa.
"Their patriotism, their courage, their honor, their pride -- it's really something that keeps our country free," Hinojosa said.
While the evening honored the families of fallen military members, organizers hope to bring attention to National Gold Star Mothers Day this Sunday, and the memory of Dr. Hector P. Garcia.
"We need to create awareness, not only for them, but for our new generation of fallen military heroes," said Patsy Vasquez-Contes, chairperson of the American GI Forum. "Especially from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars."
While the crowd listened to music from the Patriots Band and Honor Guard, others continued to grieve for those who they lost in the line of duty.
"Matthew loved the Marine Corps. He loved America," said Shirley Holloway, the mother of a fallen Marine. "That's why he joined the Marine Corps. His dad's a Marine, and, he just loved America and I just feel like everybody needs to remember."
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