The Army Ball was last night, and as they celebrated, I knew one was missing. My heart ached to think that he couldn’t be there with his brothers, but then I saw the pictures of these now familiar faces and the tears began and I am sobbing as I write. Of course they didn’t forget my boy. They love him and will always remember him. He is a hero for all of us, and he is my hero too, but more than that, he is my baby, my little boy, my goofy teen-ager and my big-hearted man. Jake, you will live in our memories until we see you again. You are so loved!

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Ball

“The small table is set for one. The warrior faces his destiny alone. The cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their motives. The single red rose displayed in the vase reminds us of the life of each of the missing. The vase is tied with a yellow ribbon, a symbol of our continued determination to account for them. A slice of lemon on the bread plate reminds us of their bitter fate. A pinch of salt on the plate symbolizes the tears of their families. The glass is empty, they will not toast with us tonight. The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return. The chair is empty tilted forward because it is being saved for someone. You are not forgotten.”

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