PHOENIX — Honoring loved ones who have died in service to our nation, Arizona Gold Star Mothers are sharing their stories ahead of Memorial Day.
"I just stop,” said Goldie Murphy, near a hallway filled with pictures of her favorite soldier. "…And, remind him that I still miss him. I love him.”
This week was hard, she says, with Memorial Day approaching and 19 Texas elementary students gunned down in their school just days ago.
"Losing a child is a whole different world. Nobody can understand it until they've lost one. My heart goes out to those families,” added Murphy.
She lost her son, Herschel McCants, a Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the Army, in 2007. He was a pilot who died in a crash, Murphy says, while saving 14 others.
Since that day, Murphy joined a group she never thought she'd be a part of, called the Gold Star Mothers group.
"My strength is helping others because it takes my pain away trying to help them ease their pain,” added Murphy.
And that is one of the reasons the group exists.
Margy Bons is another Gold Star Mother.
"There is this side of me that is like, this is not a happy Memorial Day. You don't say 'happy Memorial Day' to people. Because we, that have had that knock on the door, are not happy,” said Bons.
Her son, Marine Sergeant Michael Marzano, died in a blast in 2005.
"I remember when he was walking around with his dad's Blues jacket on when he was two years old and just tripping over it,” added Bons.
Marzano, who wanted to be an Olympic boxer, came from a Marine Corps family.
Bons' military ties and values made her a good choice to design Arizona's license plate honoring Gold Star Families.
"It's like 'ah, ooh,' you know? Because, I am excited like, wow, there it is. And then, I am like, 'oh, I know what that means.' There is a huge sacrifice that came with that plate,” added Bons.
The state approved her design in 2008.