Losing a loved one is a life-changing experience. For a child, it could mean being orphaned or growing up without a parent. This means missing out on a vital relationship, figure, and authority that could either make or break the person the little one is going to be - no matter how noble the cause of death may be.
This week, we celebrate Children of Fallen Patriots Day to remember that the sacrifices of our late heroes transcend to their living legacies - their family. We may never amount to what those brave men and women put on the line for the country, but we can always honor their children, either by raising awareness or funds to secure their future.
Here are some passionate causes to fire up your spirit to support and give back to those who were left behind:
Ocean Beach local Ryan Lee Gehris rides his bicycle across the country to raise money and awareness for the kids of fallen patriots. With his beach cruiser, he goes 3,000 miles from San Diego to New York to salute Gold Star Children, as what they go through is something that resonates with him. Gehris’ mom, Pattie Stein, lost her father to the Vietnam War when she was 14, and her grandfather in 1965, also in Vietnam. This project raises funds for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, specifically to help Gold Star Children attain higher education.
In 2016, young achiever Mitch Gilley of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy organized and co-chaired “Help Carry the Burden” Memorial Ruck event. Participants wear backpacks with weights and carry miscellaneous items as a team, simultaneously performing exercises. Then a senior, Gilley saw the kids supported by the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation as his equals - filled with hopes and dreams of pursuing college education and making it big in life. According to Gilley, the competitive military-style ruck would symbolize going out of your comfort zone to carry someone’s burden.
In your own way, you could also be a channel of provision to these children - in money or in kind. You can choose from a number of charity events and foundations that see these kids through.
How about giving them something that showcases pride for what their parents fought for? Patriotic wears such as our baseball jerseys make for thoughtful and meaningful presents - perfect for when sending them off to college or the real world. After all, what’s a couple of tokens of appreciation compared to the freedom we enjoy thanks to their folks?