Skip to comments.War hero awarded Silver Star after his death
Posted on 03/15/2008 4:21:00 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The worst moment in Gary Stokes' life was not the day a couple of Marines in dress uniform showed up at his door to tell him his son had been killed in Iraq.
That was bad, no doubt. He had spent two years wondering whether he would receive those unwelcome visitors. The worst moment came later, after the tears and the grief. The worst moment came slowly. It was the horrible realization that Sean was gone forever. He would never see his son again. Never again go fishing or camping, or watch him get married and have children of his own.
"It's lifelong; it's permanent," Stokes said. "That's what's hellish about it.
"But we're not here for sadness and morbidity," he said. Instead, Stokes now is trying to find a way to honor Sean's memory. "We're here to ask, 'What can we do about it?' "
It sounds like a cliche, but Sean Stokes lived the life of an all-American boy of the late 20th century. He was born in Fremont in 1983. His parents divorced when he was 9 years old, and he and his younger brother went to live with their father on the outskirts of Auburn. Lake of the Pines is an idyllic setting, and Sean loved to fish and camp. He played baseball and football and golf. They had a sweet and gentle golden retriever named Morea.
"He was a great kid, a sweet kid, very intuitive," his father said.
Stokes worked in real estate and home construction. His father had served on the front lines during the Korean War, but Stokes, soft-spoken and funny, never had the warrior spirit in him. He never considered putting on a uniform or picking up a gun.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
The first thing Stokes asks reporters when they call about his son is, "Don't ask me about my political views on the war." Stokes is no fan of the war.
For someone who doesn't want to talk about his political views, he sure is forthcoming.
The best thing this man could do would be to honor his son’s service and his sacrifice for this country and for other’s freedom, and not question his son or his son’s service. He is demeaning his own son’s wishes, in my opinion. Questioning his son’s service and the war is not honoring his son’s gallantry in action.
He would do far better to dedicate a part of his house to his son’s memory and to reach out to his son’s fellow marines for any photos or memories they may have of his son.
He should try hanging his son’s ceriticate/citation for the silver star on the wall, plus any other award citations and other memorabibilia that his son’s fellow marines may have.
I do have some experience with being a notification of next of kin officer, and; I have talked to mothers of men, who died with me and/or died in my unit, to include a 20 year old 1LT, who was also awarded the silver star for directing air support with a bullet through his chest until his last dying gasp for air. The young 1LT’s mother never knew what country he was in when he died for 20 plus years. She is now 85, and; she is very proud of her son, and; she has always been. She has the room he grew up in dedicated to him with his Silver Star, BSM, Purple Heart, Army Commendendation Medal for Valor, ETC. hangimg on the wall.
Both myself and my top NCO in the company were only to happy to tell her that her son was highly respected by all officers and NCO’s in our unit. We both sent her items to add to that room. She is a real lady, and; we were only to happy to talk to her , and to send her the few things we had. We felt we had a duty to tell her what a great son she had raised. We would have have wanted our friends to tell our parents the truth anout us,too. Most importantly we knew what he believed in.
You’re a good man. Thank you for your service.