Memorial Day is a time for Americans to reflect, and honor, the courage of the men and women who lost their lives while in military service to the United States. For the families that they left behind, however, Memorial Day is a much more personal day of remembrance.
A feature on the Navy Times shared how the family of a fallen SEAL is dealing with his untimely demise on June 28, 2005, at the age of 28.
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Erik Suh was among those who were killed in what has been described as one of the darkest days in the history of the Navy SEALs. Suh was aboard a Chinook helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan in 2005; six years after, his family still feels pain of his loss.
Solomon Suh, James’ father, shared: “With every passing year, I miss him more and my sadness seems to grow.” James and his older sister, Claudia, were brought up by their father, after their parents divorced when they were still young.
Solomon Suh, who had served in the South Korean Army, tried to dissuade his son from enlisting in the military. James’ drive to be a Navy SEAL, though, and the fact that the SEALs are an elite and highly trained group, changed his father’s mind somewhat because, he shared, he thought “that would mean (James) would be more safe, more capable of protecting himself.”
James’ heroism, and that of his close friend and fellow Navy SEAL Matthew Axelson, is commemorated through bronze sculptures, at the Cupertino Memorial Park. The park serves as a sanctuary for the elder Suh, who spends most Sundays sitting on a bench, reading the Bible, and remembering a son he so sorely misses.