BOISE — Monday is Memorial Day, a day of observance of America's fallen military service members whose lives were lost in the line of duty. And for some, like Idaho's Gold Star Family members, this day hits too close to home.
Gold Star Family members are those who have lost a loved one in military service. The Frank family is one of Idaho's Gold Star Families, who is spending their second Memorial Day without their Navy Sailor.
"The last time I saw him was December, almost two years prior, that's the last time I hugged him," said Bridget Frank, Gold Star mother.
Behind every American flag at the Cloverdale cemetery, is someone who honors a hero. For Bridget Frank, the last Monday in May hits all too close to home. Her son Destin died by suicide while serving in the Navy on September 23, 2017.
"He was a Petty Officer, Second Class. He was a missile technician," said Frank, and he spent long periods of time out at sea in a submarine. "His job was to basically watch dials, three months at a time, in a sub," said Frank.
Sailor Destin Frank served in the Navy for nearly four years. His mom said serving in the armed forces was always a dream of his.
"About a year before he signed up in the military, he was even sleeping on a cot, cause he knew boot camp was gonna be hard," said Frank. But what Destin, and many Sailors like him could never prepare for, is the mental toll being cooped up in a small space for long periods of time can take on a person.
"Having it be his fifth deployment, he chose his own path and we lost him," said Frank.
Now, each Memorial Day is just another loud reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by Destin, "No big event, family event is quite the same. My birthday is not the same,” said Frank.
Today and forever, Bridget and her other two children hold the Gold Star title… a title they never wanted.
"I don't want this family to get bigger, of Gold Star Families, I don't want it to be bigger, but unfortunately, it continues to grow," said Frank.
Twenty-two veterans die each day by suicide. Bridget Frank, along with many others emphasize that suicide is not the answer. The Gold Star Families are there to help, as well as the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at this number: (208) 398-4357
If you need help, whether you're a veteran or not, you can get help by calling.