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After Honoring Son, Halifax County Woman Ready To Enjoy Mother's Day

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HALIFAX COUNTY, N.C. — Mother's Day can be difficult for many who have lost their sons to war. But a Halifax County mother said this year will be different.

Mattie Hockaday Brown's son, Glenn, died 27 years ago from health problems caused by a chemical defoliant used in the Vietnam War. A recent event has eased the family's grief.

Glenn Hockaday's family prefers to remember him as he was in high school -- cheerful and athletic. In 1967, the draft led him to Vietnam. Exposure to Agent Orange took his health. The horrors of war took his mind.

"He wasn't himself," Hockaday Brown said. "He just wasn't himself at all."

Glenn died in 1976. Because he didn't die in combat, his name is not included on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It hurt a lot when they didn't put his name on the wall," his mother said, "because he died of the same thing."

Hockaday Brown felt her son's sacrifice was forgotten. Every Mother's Day with her other son and daughters only reminded her of her own personal sacrifice.

"When I get a Mother's Day card, I get one from everybody except him," she said. "Except Glenn."

Last year, Hockaday Brown heard of an annual Memory Day at the Vietnam Memorial. It's an April ceremony honoring Vietnam Vets who died after the war from combat injuries. The ceremony became an annual event five years ago.

Hockaday Brown went to participate in Memory Day last month -- and even made it to the podium to call her son's name.

"My son, Glenn Hockaday," she said to the crowd that day. "I'll always love him. We all love him."

Healing touched every member of the family.

"It did so much for me," Hockaday Brown said. "For all of us.

"It makes me feel good to know my son is finally recognized as a hero."

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