(WGHP) — For some Gold Star families in the Triad, Memorial Day means honoring loved ones at events or privately reflecting at home.
It’s been nearly 10 years since Amanda Ballard lost her son, Lance Corporal Christopher Phoenix Jacob Levy. A Marine and designated marksman, he was shot while serving a second tour in Afghanistan in 2011.
“He wanted everybody to find the good in whatever is bad,” Ballard said of her son.
At a flag retirement ceremony in Oak Ridge Monday in his honor, she said she wants to share his story yearly.
“To be a presence, and to be a voice for my son and so many other families who may not feel comfortable stepping out,” Ballard explained. “They’re not here anymore, I am my son’s voice.”
Miles away in Lexington, Sam and Evelyn Harris spent Memorial Day at home.
Their son, Petty Officer First Class Seal Joshua Harris died leading a combat mission on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in 2008.
His father still emotional describing the moment he saw cars approaching his home to notify him.
“There were six Seals. And I knew what had happened. I could tell you exactly how it looked,” Sam Harris said.
A talented artist, Josh’s paintings hang alongside medals for his achievements in the military.
The family holds an annual charity golf tournament in Pinehurst in his name. The event has raised more than a million dollars in his name for various organizations.
“There might not be a reason we lost Josh, but a reason Josh was here and able to do the things he did,” Evelyn Harris said.