CHIPPEWA VALLEY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Across the country, people have been honoring the 13 united states service members killed in the attack on Kabul airport last week.
In the Chippewa Valley, First News at Nine’s Leeann Stapleton shares how a gold star mother honored the service members in her own way.
“A Gold Star mom is someone who lost their son or daughter in combat or over seas,” Olson said.
Across the country people have been honoring the 13 United States service members that died in the attack on Kabul airport last week in Afghanistan. Olson wanted to honor them as well, in her own way.
“I said to my husband, you know, I want to honor them by putting flowers down,” Olson said.
Three statues stand in the veterans tribute mall in Altoona’s River Prairie. Olson placed a bouquet of flowers down at the base of each one.
“I’d been thinking about the Gold Star moms that have just become Gold Star moms with Afghanistan, the 13,” Olson said. “It’s a very emotional time and it started bringing lots of memories for me because even though it’s been a long time, Andy was killed in ‘05 in Iraq.”
Sergeant First Class Andy Stevens was a Marine and Olson’s son. Olson says the U.S. service members that lost their lives serving our country brought back memories.
“You see all the stuff on the TV, the caskets coming out of the back of the plane, because there were 10 Marines killed and 11 injured the day my so was killed, so there’s a lot of memories that are coming up,” Olson said.
As a mother who lost a child in combat, Olson says she understands what the mothers and families must be going through.
“It’s not easy when you lose somebody, but to lose our children is, to me, double the problems and so very emotional for us,” Olson said. “I just want to honor them.”
Olson and her husband, John, are also veterans.
“Between Andy, John and I we have 74 years of military career,” Olson said. “I’m very proud of that.”
Olson says she accepts the sacrifice her son made and that’s why she continues to help veterans and other Gold Star moms.
“Somebody asked me once, how can you talk about your son and all this,” Olson said. “I said, you know, my know son totally believed in what he was doing. He was on on his second tour, so that makes me feel good that he was where he was when he was killed and that’s healing for me.”
One mother using her heartbreak to help others heal.
“It just feels good in my heart,” Olson said.
To learn about the Gold Star Mothers of Wisconsin, click here.
To learn about the Veterans mall Tribute in Altoona’s River Prairie, click here.