For families of the fallen, Veterans Day a proud, painful reminder of year-round feelings
Posted November 8, 2019 6:08 p.m. EST
Updated November 9, 2019 8:42 p.m. EST
Fayetteville, N.C. — This year, the annual Fayetteville Veterans Day Parade honors Gold Star families, those who have lost a loved one in military service.
"I never know how I'm going to do every year, but this year I honestly have been really struggling," said Joanne Yost. She lost her husband, Master Sergeant Anthony Yost 14 years ago in an explosion in Iraq. Her youngest son was just 2 when his father died.
"I hate to say it. There's times where I hear him tell the stories, and I know they're the memories I gave him," Yost said.
The nightmare of the loss of her husband was compounded 10 years later when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I was actually told on the anniversary of his death that I was going to have to do chemo and radiation," she said.
Yost turned her pain into something positive for this military community. She opened a wig shop near the hospital for cancer patients losing hair.
"I don't think I would have done this had it not been for my cancer treatment, and I also don't think I would have done had I not been a surviving spouse," she said.
She is pleased that the Fayetteville Veterans Day Parade pays tribute to Gold Star families. For them and for her, Veterans Day is every day.
"I'm a daughter of a 35-year veteran, and I'm a mother of a veteran, so it's really important to me," she said. "It's much more to be a surviving spouse. It's an honor, but also it's hard."