Living Memorial For Bryan A. Burgess

Terry-BurgessSubmitter’s Name: Terry Burgess
The Service Member’s Name: Bryan A. Burgess
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Staff Sergeant 
Military Job: Squad Leader
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne
Hometown for Service Member: Cleburne, TX
Hometown for Submitter: Fort Worth, TX

On March 29, 2011 I had a dream about my son, Bryan. We were just walking side by side on a dusty, rocky road. Bryan was in full combat uniform and he was talking to me, but I couldn’t really hear what he was saying to me. He smiled at me, took me by my elbow and guided me around a corner into an outdoor movie theater. We took our seats and there on the movie screen appeared Bryan in his Army Combat Uniform. The camera pulled back and I could see he was standing beside a glass coffin. He stepped into the coffin, laid down, and as soon as his helmet touched the white satin pillow he turned into little boy Bryan. Little boy Bryan sat up, stepped out of the coffin and became Bryan the soldier again. Bryan gave me a salute, that little half-smile I was so familiar with, and then the screen went blindingly white. I turned to look at Bryan in the seat beside me, but he was gone.
It was at that point that I woke up to the phone ringing. I got out of bed, pulled on my jeans and tee shirt and went into Beth’s office to see who was calling so early in the morning. It was my daughter-in-law, Tiffany, telling me that Bryan had been killed in action in Afghanistan early that morning.

It was March 29, 2011 and our world had just been shattered. After the attacks and the horror of 9/11 Bryan came to me and told me he wanted to fight back. He wasn’t asking me. He was telling me. My son, who climbed trees, played sports, drove my old hot rod, and teased his little sister, was going to war to fight an enemy that had killed Americans on American soil. Bryan didn’t know the victim’s names, but he fully intended to avenge them. At Bryan’s funeral at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Brigadier General Colt pinned a Gold Star on each one of us. There were tears in his eyes as he pinned one on me, Bryan’s mom, his sister, his wife, both of his children and Bryan’s step-mom and step-dad.

We had become a Gold Star Family. At our home, the banner with the Blue Service Star is now gone. In its place hangs a banner with a Gold Star on a white field framed with the red border and fringed with gold trim. We wear our Gold Star pins whenever possible, sharing Bryan’s story and raising American citizen’s awareness of the price and the cost of our freedom. Deep in my heart, I pray that those I meet will never know just how heavy this little Gold Star really is. Bryan, and the other five brave men that died that morning, are featured in the films The Hornet’s Nest and No Greater Love. These films not only show the horror of war, but the horrors these surviving warriors bring home with them while returning to a mostly ungrateful, unaware country. If you are reading this, then you are one of the rare and wonderful 1% that understands the struggle. If you served, then I want to say “Thank you!” If you are a Gold Star, then I want to say “I know the pain, and I know the struggle.” God Bless America, and God Bless our Warriors.

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