Local News

Gold Star wives offer insight to families of Fort Bragg soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Posted August 4

— Gov. Roy Cooper ordered that state facilities lower their North Carolina and American flags Friday as a tribute to two Fort Bragg soldiers who were killed earlier this week in Afghanistan.

The families of Jonathon Hunter, 23, of Columbus, Indiana, and Christopher Harris, 25, of Jackson Springs, North Carolina, will now be known as "Gold Star families," those who have lost a relative in the line of duty.

Both men were members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team with the 82nd Airborne Division, which deployed to Afghanistan in June.

Other Gold Star family members can identify with those of the two Fort Bragg soldiers who died this week.

It has been 12 years since Master Sergeant Anthony Yost was killed in combat in Iraq. His widow said it took her weeks to realize her husband was not coming home.

"When I finally went to Arlington Cemetery and I was sitting there in front of his casket is when I realized, OK, this is real," said Joann Yost.

Sheila Harriman-Reid also knows the pain that Gold Star families feel. Her husband, Chief Warrant Officer Stanley Harriman, was one of the first soldiers killed in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack.

"It will never be over to us," she said.

Harriman-Reid said there has been no closure for her husband's death, it has rather been just a constant battle to keep his memory alive.

"Just finish the mission," she said. "Don't let Stan's death be in vain. Finish what we started so that we don't have to go back and potentially lose more of our soldiers."

Yost has been dealing with a double dose of bad news. Two years after the day her husband was killed she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She's now dealing with both tragedies by opening a wig boutique for cancer patients and surrounding herself with family to help ease the pain.

"This year, I'm going to be a grandma again, around that time so, you know, that will definitely ease the pain and make it a lot better this year," she said.

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