ARCHDALE, N.C. (WGHP) — For military families, the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 resonates differently.
Especially those whose loved ones decided to enlist after that tragic day that kickstarted the war on terror.
Many military families still suffer from the memories of loved ones who never made it back home.
“Obviously the war took away Jake because he served there,” said Cole Masear, whose son was killed in action. “It costs my family dearly.”
Jake Carroll, Masear’s son, was just 11 years old on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We watched all morning long as one event after another transpired and we all cried. We sat there and we watched, and we cried because we thought, oh my gosh. What does this mean for us and the country?” Masear said.
For Masear and her family, it would mean her son would join the fight when he was old enough.
“I’ve had an American flag flying since he left. The yellow ribbons are a gesture friends at work did, for the whole neighborhood really, when Jake passed,” Masear said.
He was just 20 years old when he was killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber in 2011.
“Jake, you will always have my heart, your loving sister Meredith,” Masear said, as she read a message left for Jake.
The country’s longest war is over, but not for Carroll’s family.
“We have the scars that we’ll never forget,” Masear said.
Carroll left behind his mark.
“There’s no way that I would ever believe Jake’s sacrifice was for nothing,” she said.
Now, she looks back on what Sept. 11 and what the war took away from their family.
“Jake Carroll is one of the brave protecting you and me,” she said, as she read a poem for Carroll. “You’re now an angel and forever my hero.”
Masear can’t help but think of all the other Gold Star mothers and families she’s been able to help through their nonprofit the Jacob Carroll Memorial 5k.
“Our goal was not only to remember Jake but also to pay it forward,” she explained.
So, on this 20-year anniversary of an event that changed her family’s lives, she’ll think of this…
“It didn’t take away our love for Jake and our love for one another, it didn’t rob us of that. It just robbed us of his presence. But I’ll see Jake again,” she said. “While you and I sit at home and watch TV, there are men and women who choose to go to and stand and watch in areas that you and I would be scared to death to even go to.”
The Jacob Carroll Memorial 5k Race will be held this year on Nov. 13 in Trinity.
For more information on how to register or how to donate to help other military families, go to runthejake.com.