SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor those who died while serving the United States. For their families, it’s a day to remember the loved ones no longer with us.
Every Gold Star Family has a story.
For Bob and Cindy Roberts, it’s about their daughter, Kristie. The Roberts spent Memorial Day at Kristie’s headstone in Saratoga National Cemetery.
“To us, Memorial Day occurs every day,” Bob said. “We get up in the morning, and we remember our daughter.”
It’s been nearly five years since Sgt. Kristie Roberts died, but her parents are keeping her memory alive.
“Have your picnic and have your get togethers – family first – but don’t forget those we have lost,” Cindy said.
Kristie enlisted under then-recruiter Arthur Coon and met all the requirements except for weight.
“Then going to the Albany MEPS to try and enlist and make weight five or six times until she finally did it,” Coon recalled.
Persistent as ever until she became part of the National Guard. She came home one Christmas to visit her family and her grandfather, who also served.
“She was in her dress uniforms, and she had graduated and he was so proud of her,” Cindy said.
Her grandfather died a few days later, and today, Kristie shares a headstone with him at the Saratoga National Cemetery.
“Kristie is one of the 22-a-day as the military calls them who died by suicide,” Cindy said.
Her parents started a long journey of grieving and healing.
“She was sworn in, ironically enough, the same place she was buried,” Bob said.
Kristie is memorialized in a bridge spanning Route 149 in Queensbury.
“It now carries our daughter’s name,” Bob said. “It’s very special to us because as being our only daughter, and also our only child, that will be our legacy, and it’s also her legacy.”
Along the path are signs with the number for the national suicide hotline.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out, so you don’t have your parents be like us,” Cindy said.
Kristie’s parents have made it their mission to live every day in their daughter’s memory.
“They don’t just carry Kristie in their hearts; they carry forward her mission of service to everybody else in everything they do in the community,” Coon said.
In a bridge…
“Her name is there,” Bob said. “People see it. They’ll ask who she is.”
In a plaque…
“Every day was something where you wanted to say ‘thank you Kristie’ for that gift,” Cindy said.
A Gold Star Family Memorial…
There is where Kristie will always be.
The Gold Star Family Memorial was unveiled in Lafayette Park in April. The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.