MERCED, CA, USA U.S. Army SSG, HSC, 3D BATTALION, 10TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, FORT CARSON, CO NAJAF, IRAQ 05/25/2008
It is with great pride and yet humbleness that I write you Great American Soldiers! As a Blue Star Mother, it was on May 25, 2008 that I faced and received that horrific news that my son, SSG Frank Gasper, was killed and ultimately paid the price for Freedom! That was the day that changed my life completed, and also made me a Gold Star Mother! But, I find myself that even as broken as I feel, yet I feel a sense of duty and responsibility to preserve the legacy of my son, Frank. And also to remember those before him, and those after him.
I am honored to say that in the midst of the letters he wrote me, he left me pieces of history. He gave me places, dates and situations yet, so little information. Yet as he expressed and shared, you could not help but feel somewhat of what he was feeling. As the tears run down my face, as I reflect on his writings, I sense the urgency of not letting this legacy “die”. I will not let it sit on a shelf and collect dust, nor will it go in the family heirloom chest. But, rather it is being told to everyone I come in contact with.
You are but the history book, the “talking history book”, that the world needs to hear. It is a great price that you have paid, or are paying and it must not be forgotten! It’s you that goes without rest or, when you do rest your head, your mind is full of the weariness. The day’s hell that you went through, the meals you missed, the days that you didn’t get a shower, the adrenaline that rushed through your chest as you watched your brother’s back; yet there’s nothing you could do, when the worst faced you! The wounded Soldier up in the Hospital, the Veteran that was snuck back into the Country after war, the suicides that many committed, the silent wounded Soldier that tries to fit in yet finds it hard to, the holidays spent away from home, the steps you never witnessed or the birth of your first born child, the girlfriend that left you for just a civilian, the far away rumbles of the bombs going off afar, all the Soldier’s huddled together, praying God keep us safe! The news that your unit just got orders to deploy again, the vacation that you will not get to take with the family, and so many more!!
This is the price for Freedom, that must not go unforgotten! It is because of you great American Soldier’s that our RED, WHITE and BLUE flag still waves in the wind, and stands so strong! These are the stories that I have a burden to preserve and not let go unforgotten! Yet I am humbled by your courage, your strength, your integrity and dedication, your battle wounds, those unseen and those seen that each of you American Soldiers share in common. Yet you do not expect anything in return, nor do you do it for the medals, not even a “thank you”, but for your comrades, your brothers, who fight next to you, the innocent people that are oppressed, and for the duty that calls within you!
I am humbled and in awe to think that I know such Great men as yourself and I have to “salute” you. I don’t even know if it’s proper, or if it’s politically correct, but I just have to “salute” you. Just as your soul will not rest, until freedom reigns in the land! Neither does my soul rest and I will make sure that the price of Freedom is not Forgotten!
May God Bless you! Keep you safe! And until we meet again, may your heart begin to write our world’s history so it will not be forgotten! I pray you find the strength to write at least one line a day, to write down the things that you feel and go through on a daily basis. You will be surprised just one line a day, with a date or even a time how it will bring healing to you, as it has to me. I have started to write my life’s journey as a Gold Star Mother. There’s days, I look back and read the struggles, even of a day or two ago and some days I can honestly say, it’s what got me through the day!
Stand tall, Stand proud, and don’t let the guilt, shame and regrets of today rob you of tomorrow! You are an American Soldier, part of this great history and the price that was, and is paid for Freedom! I will pledge to each of you that all I can do is pray for you, write to you, send you packages, and I will even be an ear for you. I will stand in support of you at a Rally. I will place my Blue/Gold Star flag up so proudly, yet so humbly! I will even shed a tear at the thought of the price of Freedom! But I will promise to you, that the Price for Freedom will not be forgotten!
With all my love and prayers! My heart is so filled with gratitude for each of you for your service to me and our Country!
Anita Richards Proud Gold Star Mom of SSG Frank Gasper