Dozens gather at USS Kidd to remember fallen soldiers

USS Kidd (Source: WAFB)
USS Kidd (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Kim Graham tries to remember the good times she had with her son Mark. It helps her cope with his death ten years ago.

He was serving in Iraq when an IED detonated near his vehicle.

The 22-year old was flown back the US for treatment, but he succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in San Antonio.

Graham says his death has given her a new perspective on military service... her son excelled in golf and football, but gave that up to serve his country.

"After 9/11, he felt very committed to join and you know, he wanted to do his thing," Graham said. "It wasn't going to be his life, but he wanted to honor his country, and we want to honor him."

Graham spoke at a special service at the USS Kidd on Monday, where dozens showed up to pay their tributes. Many of them were veterans, like Frank Masanz, who served between 1940 and 1960.

"All the people that have passed away on us, they are the heroes of the United States. I was glad to see so many people here," Masanz said.

Since Mark's death, Graham has dedicated her life to helping other families get through tragedy. She is a member of the Louisiana Gold Star Mothers, moms who lost their children to military service.

They go around the state helping families cope with their loss.

"I think it's our job as parents to talk to other moms and dads who have lost their children and give them some comfort," Graham said. "It would
be a dis-service if we didn't."

After the ceremony, visitors were invited to place a flower next to a name on the Louisiana Memorial Plaza, a list of soldiers from Louisiana who died serving their country, and then learn more about them.

Graham says learning a little bit goes a long way.

"I'm in awe of military," Graham said. "It is truly an awe-inspiring position to be in."

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.