Diane Rawl remembers her son’s sacrifice before Mother’s Day Gold Star
SWANSEA, SC (WIS) – It’s a circle they are forced into by unimaginable grief.
This weekend, our nation will take a break to honor Gold Star Mother’s Day on September 26th. It is a day when we recognize mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of the United States Armed Forces.
For Diane Rawl, it’s been nine years but it might as well have been yesterday.
“I was proud, oh I was so proud,” Rawl said of his son’s choice to serve.
As you walk into the Rawl family home in Swansea, you see Lt. Ryan Rawl’s service hanging around every corner. From his days at the Citadel to his time with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and his deployment with the South Carolina National Guard.
His sacrifice fills every square inch of the hallway. But now, where the relics live, there is silence where Ryan’s footsteps should be.
1st Lt. Ryan Rawl was killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in 2012 alongside Sgt. John David Meador and Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bradford Thomas. All three soldiers were assigned to the 133rd Military Police Company.
“It was like I was in a dream,” Rawl said. “I mean, it’s like something you see on TV, but it couldn’t happen to my family because you’re about to tear my family apart.
In the years following her son’s death, the war in Afghanistan raged. Then, this summer, a rapid downturn brought images of chaos and confusion. Rawl firmly believes that she believes in the right of the United States to enter Afghanistan and work to plant the seeds of hope.
But, seeing the images of soldiers in distress and the horrific conditions for those trying to leave has been difficult.
“As much as we have progressed in mourning and everything, in nine years, everything has ebbed,” she said.
Rawl said what kept the family afloat was knowing Ryan deeply believed in the mission.
“Even if he knew exactly what the result would be, he would do it again today. That’s how much he believed in what he was doing, ”Rawl said.
But believing in the mission does not bring his son back.
“Being a Gold Star mom is the only organization I know of that you don’t want to be a part of,” she said. “Groups make you stronger. We have found that by serving, serving others has made us stronger and helped us heal.
Gold Star Mother’s Day is September 26, 2021. Rawl said the best way to help honor the service members and families of those who have lost their lives in the name of patriotism is to tell their stories aloud for s ensure they, and their service, are never forgotten.
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