Memorial Day in our home this year will be spent quietly on the road between SC and GA, going to pick up the kids from their dad’s house. However, very close to my heart and in my thoughts will be two special people I had the honor and privilege to know. While I do not discount the countless other families who were affected by conflict and war, by the loss of a child, a husband, a father, brother, sister, mother, wife – these two individuals are close to my heart.
Frank (Capt. “Puj” Hooks)- a pilot in our squadron in South Carolina that made the ultimate sacrifice in June 2004. His loss deepy impacted Matt, and all the Marines of 115. My best memory of Frank was the DVD we unexpectedly got in the mail one day during the first deployment Matt went on. They had made us a “we are halfway home” DVD full of photos of all the guys from the squadron. It was a silly DVD, but so special to all the spouses. Frank was married to my sweet friend Cindy – whom I admire for her beautiful spirit.
Second is Clarence Adams. Clarence was 3 years ahead of me in school (me a freshman, he a senior) when I decided to run indoor track. He then decided to take me under his wing and teach me to throw shot put. So, he taught me and I did it. I wasn’t that good, and didn’t stick with it, but he was always encouraging. He always had a smile on his face, and was loved by so many at Varina. Clarence died in Baghdad, Iraq in September 2004. He was the father of six, and devoted husband.
While for many it’s a day of picnics, BBQ’s and the unofficial start of summer, it is also a VERY real holiday to remember those who have fought and died for us to have the ability to go to the river or beach, watch a parade in peace and have a picnic. Please take a moment today and remember them, their families and their sacrifice.
Note – photo of Frank courtesy of Cindy Morrison, and photo of Clarence courtesy of Iraqwarheros.org.