Gold Star families remember loved ones on Memorial Day

Gold Star families remember loved ones on Memorial Day

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Terri Criscio is the mother of U.S. Army Green Baret Dustin Wright.

“This is a day that most Goldstar families, you know we want to smile and we want to lift our family member up and we do that but we also shed a tear.”

Wright was one of four soldiers killed in Niger during an ambush attack in 2017.

“That’s one of the things about being a Gold Star mother, you know that it’s possible but when it really happens it’s not something you can truly explain to anybody, the emotions that you have."

Criscio says he was the youngest of three boys and was dependable, funny and honest.

She’s turned her grief into serving others by forming a foundation to help veterans and is a member of Gold Star Mothers.

“I had to travel through my grief for a little while before I could get there and realize that I needed them and they needed me.”

Gold Star Wife Patricia Barbee’s husband John Barbee was in the Marine Corps when he was killed in Vietnam in 1968.

"One of the last things he said to me was you know you cannot drive and cry at the same time in this rain. And so I watched him walk into the Philadelphia airport and that was the last I saw him in life.”

They were married for two years, two months, and two days.

Barbee says he was intelligent, loved poetry and history, and was a minister and foot soldier for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"That’s how he was. We just belonged to each other.”

She says her husband had orders from Okanawa, Japan, but she found out he was in Vietnam when he died and has never received all of his personal items.

“It probably took about five minutes for me to stop screaming because I was losing my voice. Yes, they didn’t have to tell me, I knew.”

Since his passing, she's worked with Gold Star wives and children to pass legislation, has twice been honored by the U.S. Army and founded the New Jersey Burlington County Chapter of Gold Star Wives.

Barbee says it is not a day to celebrate but instead...

"It is a day to observe."

And never forget those who died for our freedom.

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