Knoxville Gold Star family honors son’s, other fallen heroes’ sacrifices on Memorial Day

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Memorial Day is a somber day for families who lost loved ones fighting for freedom.

A husband and wife who lost their only son in 2007 while he was deployed in Iraq say they hope everyone takes a moment to remember the reason for this holiday.

Each Memorial Day you’ll find the Gillis family at a ceremony to honor America’s heroes.

“You’ve got to be grateful. They are all heroes. You’ve got to be grateful. If not for them, who knows where we would be?” said Robert Gillis.

Robert and Laura Gillis described their son as a hero and an angel. He passed away serving our country in 2007.

“He’s our only son. He is this country’s hero. I truly believe he is in heaven and he watches out over us every day,” said Gillis.

Airborne Ranger Sgt. Shawn Galen Adams was a proud American who knew he wanted to serve this country.

“He said, ‘If not me Pops, then who?”’ said Gillis.

Sgt. Adams became an Army Ranger at the age of 19 and became a sergeant within three years. He was deployed to Iraq in October 2006.

“He disposed of the IEDs and bombs and stuff like that. They went out looking for certain people,” said Gillis.

Gillis says his son died on July 22, 2007, while on a mission. He was a son, a brother and a husband who is greatly missed.

“I’m very proud of our son and I’m grateful for everything he gave, but Memorial Day is more than just barbecues and the beach and parks. If everyone would just take a moment and bow their head and say what they are thankful for,” said Gillis.

The Gillis family says every day is Memorial Day for families who have lost a loved one protecting this country. They say each day they think of their son and pray for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

The Gold Star families provide a support to each other and often honor the fallen, active service members and veterans through patriotic events.

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