Ep. 25: Memorial Day, Honoring Those Who Died for Our Freedom

Thank you for joining us as On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the Gold Star families for carrying the burden of their loss. In this episode, Kristy Graham dives deeper into what it means to learn their stories, speak their names, and honor their legacy.

Kristy is joined over the phone by her friend, Lisa Hallett, a working mother of three, who lost her husband Captain John L. Hallett III in Afghanistan. Kristy begins the conversation by asking Lisa how she and John met. After growing up together and reconnecting at a wedding, John and Lisa were married in 2003. Three short weeks later, he deployed to Iraq, and so began their military career as a married couple. Lisa shares the benefits of living in a military community: experiencing opportunities for growth, new cultures, and exciting challenges.

In 2009, John deployed to southern Afgahnistan—less than a month before their youngest daughter was born. Tune in at 13:49 as Lisa shares the story of learning that her husband was killed, and walks through her personal grieving process. With a three-year-old, one-year-old, and newborn baby, Lisa greeted John’s flag-draped casket in Northern California. She remembers driving from Travis Airforce Base to the funeral home and watching the streets lined with people from the community. Even after her husband’s death, Lisa stayed connected to the military community—helping in earnest as John’s loss became one of 41 for the brigade that year.

“Thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of American men and women, over the centuries, have shared their life’s blood for the freedom we have, and that we enjoy in this country today.” – Franklin Graham

Listen as Kristy asks Lisa how she channeled her grief by coming alongside her community and honoring the fallen. As many were hurting from loss and looking for hope, they began running together. Soon, many wives of the brigade along with Gold Star wives, gathered weekly to say the names of the fallen, pray, and run in remembrance. She helped co-found this growing national movement, a living memorial called “Wear Blue: Run to Remember.” Although the pain will never leave, Lisa says that Memorial Day brings comfort to her because she knows that her family and friends are also remembering the fallen.

“On Memorial Day, I know that everybody does remember John and somebody somewhere is speaking his name. Someone is learning his story. In doing so, they’re holding up my family, and making sure that John’s story can live. That gives us strength, it gives us place, and the gift of gratitude is a powerful gift to be given.” – Lisa Hallett

Lisa and Kristy’s conversation ends by asking listeners to pray for strength, comfort, and empowerment for Gold Star families and those who have lost loved ones. Kristy then asks her husband, Army veteran Edward Graham, to share insight and the meaning of Memorial Day. The episode wraps as Edward sheds light on how he prays for Gold Star families to thrive each day, grow in their faith, and lean on the local church.

An Inside Look

Click this link or image below for a free downloadable PDF of hope-filled scriptures for Memorial Day.

Kristy’s friend, Kiley Frederick Bult, wrote a devotional about how she grew closer to God even after her husband was killed in the service. Click this link or image below to read her devotion, “Treasures in the Darkness.”

Want to learn more about Wear Blue: Run to Remember? Check out the website with more information about Memorial Day here.

If you are a Gold Star wife, please consider applying to the “Gold Star Wives Retreat—Past, Present, and Future” hosted by Michael and Cindy Easley at The Billy Graham Training Center.

Are you wanting more resources and information about Memorial Day?Check out “Operation We Are Here,” for access to facts, videos, articles and observances.

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