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Who Cares for the Gold Star Moms Who Care for Our Vets?

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He was 31. He was a weight lifter, and it showed. He loved kids, and he showed it. He had two adoring children, a beautiful wife, and an income approaching six figures.

His father was a Vietnam era vet, who tries to cover the loss of his son by fencing and farming. His mother was French, a gentle hospice worker with a heart big and bold. Few, however, until some years ago needed to knew how tough and hard a broken French heart could be.

On September 11, 2001, he told her "Mom, I have to do something." He didn't tell her he had that day picked up his enlistment papers.

"I've got two kids. I want to serve my country, but I don't want to leave the country," he told the National Guard recruiter.

"No problem. You'll probably end up guarding a nuclear plant or something in our country," replied the recruiter.

His father initially favored the war and all George Bush did, especially Bush's bragging about "We'll train them up, so our troops can step down." When they took his son forever, all those beliefs changed.

On October 11, 2001, he returned his sign-up forms and was assigned to the 579th Engineering Battalion based in Petaluma, California.

He asked Mom to take a ride with him. She knew something was wrong. When he told her what he had done, she stunned him with, "And if you have to take someone's life, what are you going to do?"

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Dwayne served in the Peace Corps in the slums of Mumbai, India, worked several Habitat Projects, and was on the start-up team of the California Conservation Corps. He has a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, has been a builder, teacher, (more...)

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