KENT, OH, US
SPC, TROOP A, 4TH SQD, 4TH CAVALRY REGT, 1ST BDE COMBAT TEAM, FORT RILEY, KS
05/28/2011, HAJI RUF, AFGHANISTAN
Last week, Adam Hamilton’s 12-year-old sister asked her parents what the meaning of Memorial Day is.
“We told her, and she says, ‘Well, we don’t do as much as we should, and we have a brother that’s over there,’” Scott Hamilton, Adam’s father, said. “Boy, I guess she really understands the meaning of it now.”
For Adam’s family, this Memorial Day marked the day their son’s body touched American soil. Adam, a 2007 graduate of , after . He was a member of the 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, KS. Adam joined the Army because he wanted to be part of a team.
“He enjoyed camaraderie,” his mother, Nancy Krestan, said. “He wanted to do something that would make him feel like he was doing something for others.”
Despite his reasoning, Scott said he initially struggled with his son’s choice. “I was not very happy,” he said. “I don’t understand it still, but it’s probably the most honorable, patriotic thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life right now.”
Krestan said the moment she was proudest of her son was when he enlisted. “That was his decision, and his decision was final, and he carried that out,” she said. “That was a very difficult decision, and he stuck to it.”
Both parents believe it was ultimately the right choice for Adam. “He sacrificed his life for it,” Scott said. “But it was his way. It was what he wanted.” Krestan agreed. “That was what was in his heart.”
Though Adam was enthusiastic about his job with the military, Scott said he knew his son was afraid of the worsening situation in Afghanistan. When they last talked a week ago, Adam explained to his father how dangerous it had become.
“He was scared,” Scott said. “But he had a job to do, and he knew he had to do it, but I sensed that he was in trouble, and I had to stay strong for him.”
Beyond his fear, Adam also conveyed his excitement to return home for a 15-day leave in July during his final conversations with his parents. He talked with his mom about going shopping for clothes, and he talked with his dad about a planned trip together to the Myrtle Beach area.
“He just wanted to come home and hang out with his family,” Scott said.
In Adam’s absence, Scott said he remembers their relationship and his son’s “giving, caring” personality. “His smile lit up a room when he walked in,” Scott said. “I’ve got so many pictures around the house right now and hanging up of Adam, and every single one of them had that loving smile.”
While Adam’s presence affected both his friends and his community, perhaps the people he most influenced were those in his family. “He was just an inspiration to so many,” Scott said. “The day he came into this world, he changed my life, and the day he left he’s changed it even more, and it’s made me a better person already.”
Thinking about life without Adam, his mother said she knew what she was going to miss the most. “His face,” Krestan said. “I’m going to miss his face and his voice.”