President Bush declared Sunday Gold Star Mother's Day, asking Americans to remember and honor the mothers of soldiers killed in the line of duty. 11 News spoke with a local Gold Star Mom to find out what the day means to her.
Sheila Decocq says it didn't surprise her one bit when her son, Wade Oglesby, told her he wanted to join the army.
"He really cared about people and he was always concerned about everyone else first," said Decocq.
She says she went along with the idea, thinking about the opportunities the military could open up for him. But she admits there was always a small fear in the back of her mind that something could happen to him -- and unfortunately, her worst nightmare came true.
"It's a day you wish no parent had to go through," said Decocq.
While serving in Iraq back in April of 2007, Corporal Oglesby's humvee rolled over an IED buried below the ground. The explosion killed him and another soldier inside.
As Decocq reflects on that tragedy during Gold Star Mother's Day, she says life since then hasn't been easy, but her son's spirit helps her battle through the days.
"The last thing your child would want you to do is not keep going on," said Decocq. "They would want you to keep putting one foot in front of the other."
She says while Wade was in Iraq, his mission was to build a school for, provide water to, and protect a small village overrun by members of the old regime. When he arrived only 50 families lived in the area. By the time he died, more than a thousand families were flourishing there, enjoying their new found freedom. Decocq says knowing that is comforting.
"I'm extremely proud of him," said Decocq. "If I had younger children that wanted to go in the military I wouldn't even hesitate to tell them if that's your dream, go for it. What can I do to help you?"
Decocq says that pride in her son has only strengthened her support for the troops who are still fighting overseas. She is an active member of Blue Star Mothers -- a group of military moms who gather supplies and send the troops care packages and other items to show how much their service is appreciated.
On Gold Star Mother's Day, she asks that no matter how you feel about the war, you stand behind our soldiers.
"Think about the fact that they're willing to put themselves between you and harm's way for your right to say things freely and safety," said Decocq.
Finally, she wants to thank the community has stood behind her and her family during a difficult and trying year.
"We were just so unbelieveably amazed," said Decocq. "And that meant so much to us. More than we could put into words."