As folks around the world spent Father’s day celebrating their dads, some kids ⏤ specifically the children of fallen soldiers ⏤ couldn’t just call or text dad to say ‘I love you.’ In an effort to remind people of their sacrifice, the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (CFPF) shared Father’s Day letters written by those kids to their dads.
The CFPF’s main goal is to provide college scholarships and educational counseling to Gold-Star children, the name the Foundation uses for kids who have lost parents in the armed services. But this year, the CFPF invited kids to write letters as part of a grieving project. They started the initiative when they realized that 97 percent of service members killed in action are men, and as a result, many of the kids who benefit from the CFPF have a particularly hard time on Father’s Day.
For Veronica Crouse, the Father’s Day letter initiative was a reason to still ‘talk’ to her dad almost 15-years after his death.
“A lot has happened in these past 14-years without you, but we know you’re looking down from above. I often wish you could be here in person just one more time so I can hold you and never let go. Sometimes even just thinking of an old memory of you just makes me cry. I miss you so much. We all do. We’ve lost a lot of family members in the past fourteen years, but I take comfort in knowing they’re all with you,” she wrote.
Others like Chelsea Briggs, whose father Staff Sgt. Raymond Briggs was killed eight years ago, wrote about the difficulty of growing up without him.
“I’m not a little girl anymore. I just turned 20 and it’s not easy becoming an adult without you. I miss having my buddy close by to talk to. All I know is that no one can replace you and you will always be my best buddy ever. I feel your love with me every day and that’s what keeps me going.”
For some, the simple chance to update their fallen father on what’s been happening was enough. For others like Boston Gilbert, however, the letters were a chance to say just how much they want to be like their parent.
“Although you are not with me in body, I feel you in spirit. Your warrior servant spirit is something that I desire to emulate and embody. I feel you as I walk around the Southern Methodist University campus, soccer field, and dorms. I pray that I treat people how you treated people — with honor, humility, service, and passion. I will never forget your legacy, and I will never forget your sacrifice. I love you.”
A few of the Gold-Star kids who actually penned letters were elated to tell their father’s that they themselves are now trying to become parents.
“I know it wasn’t your plan for me to get married so young. But, we’ve been married for five years now and I can promise you that I’m as happy as I could be…We are trying to start a family now. While I’m very excited for the next step, I’m sad that my children won’t have the privilege of having you in their lives like I did. But, I will keep you as alive as possible, and they will know what a badass grandpa they had.”
Check out the rest of the notes here, just don’t forget a box of Kleenex.