Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gold Star Mothers to make Inaugural Ball special

Contact: Tim Chavez
Media Relations Director
Music City Inaugural Charity Ball

Jan. 9, 2009

The soon-to-be president of the American Gold Star Mothers organization and the head of the Middle Tennessee chapter will be honored along with legacies of their heroic sons at the Music City Inaugural Charity Ball.

"There could be no inaugural ball here or peaceful exchange of presidential power in Washington on Jan. 20 if not for the sacrifice of the sons of these women and so many others ... most recently in the war on terror," said the Rev. Enoch Fuzz, co-chair of the Music City event.

Molly Morel of Martin, TN., is second vice president of the national Gold Star group and has been instrumental in helping the organization recognize the loved ones of the fallen who raised them -- such as aunts, grandparents and stepparents. A blog post about her efforts and those of her husband is attached.

Mary Byers is president of the Middle Tennessee Gold Star Mothers' organization. She and her husband Lloyd will appear at the ball to be honored and for their son's sacrifice.

The first part of the inaugural ball has been designated to recognize the heroics of the military and as a reminder that the price of freedom is not free. Forty-four members of the 101st Airborne and their spouses have been invited to be part of the ball free of charge. The chaplain at Ft. Campbell is part of the Committee of 44 helping to organize the ball.

A room attached to the ballroom will be set aside to honor the military and its integral role in protecting the freedoms of this nation.

Attached below is the blog post about the sacrifice demanded of the families of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan:

From www.politicalsalsa.com

The cost of war not always apparent in statistics

At last look, this nation has lost more than 4,000 men and women in Iraq.

Yet those numbers reveal nothing of the real cost being paid back at home. It is devastating, shocking and gut-wrenching. And still, these words don't adequately describe all the pain and hurt of the parents, siblings, stepparents, wives, sons and daughters.

While it takes two hands for me now to count the number of Gold Star families I consider as friends -- or more like I am honored that they consider me a friend -- I still am mostly unaware of war's real cost.

Except after talking with Mike and Molly Morel of Martin, TN.

They've been friends for almost five years now. Incredibly, they send me Christmas cards and check up on me. I try to remember them in blog posts and e-mails on holidays and thank them for the sacrifice of their heroic son, Marine Capt. Brent Morel. He saved his entire convoy on an April day in Anbar Province of Iraq.

Still, I was sobered by what the couple told me tonight about the families they counsel about grief and living on -- for those who want to.

Mike tells me that a lot of fathers he counsels talk of suicide. They ask if they'll ever laugh again. They ask if it will hurt when they do. Will they feel guilty?

Yes, on both counts. It will hurt, you will feel guilty, for the first several times.

Molly talks to the women. She also is the second vice president of the national American Gold Star Mothers organization. She'll be president in two years.

She has helped lead the group through the cultural change that has gripped these families and their fallen. So many of these heroes come from broken families, raised by grandmothers, aunts or even stepparents.

Some of these heroes had the divorce papers heading to them overseas when they were killed. So the wives cheating on them got to make all the decisions about the funeral, besides get all the consolation and insurance money while parents suffered in silence. Some parents don't even know where the ashes of their sons are kept, or have been scattered. That magnifies the grief to horrific proportions.

Siblings also suffer greatly. They often are overlooked when the flag over the coffin is presented to the wife or the mother. Sometimes, it was the sibling relationship that was the closest, the most critical to surviving a bad family life. Now the surviving sibling feels so distant and discarded.

I know of these cases in the Gold Star families in Tennessee. But I have never written about them, out of respect to the fallen and from the question of what would be advanced if the truth was known.

The war on terror has been unlike any other. The fallen and those who have served have neither been hated as the Vietnam vets nor feted like the Gulf War ones.

The only certainty is that the pain is constant, for the living, now that the fallen have gone home to God.

And that's why the Music City Inaugural Charity Ball will invite, recognize and honor some of these families on the night of Jan. 20.
Posted by Tim A. Chávez at 8:32 PM 0 comments

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