Gold Star mother remembers son, explains Memorial Day weekend

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – A lot of folks are heading out to the lake to kick back and relax this Memorial Day weekend. But for so many families it means so much more than a three-day weekend.

KOB 4 spoke to one Gold Star mother who explains the meaning behind Memorial Day.

Becky Christmas is a mother of three sons. Her oldest, Todd Christmas, was a captain in the Army. But back in 2004, his name was added to the bricks surrounding the New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial. 

“The Monday after Thanksgiving, his helicopter he was riding in hit a communication tower in foggy weather outside Fort Hood, Texas, and he was instantly killed along with six others,” Christmas said. 

Since that fateful day Becky Christmas became a Gold Star mother. She has traveled to Washington D.C. many times to place flags in Arlington National Cemetery and spoke at Memorial Day services across the state. 

“Since that time, we have tried to think of how Todd would have wanted us to live and how we can keep his memory alive, and remember all of those who have fallen,” Christmas said. 

For the Christmas family, Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend. 

“We have Armed Forces Day, and we celebrate those who are actively serving. We have Veterans’ Day to honor our veterans but Memorial Day, the reason we even have a Memorial Day is to honor those who have died while serving, and we want to remind people of that,” Christmas said.

And it’s not a “happy” holiday. 

“We hope people will not say to a Gold Star family “Happy Memorial Day” because that’s a hard thing for us,” Christmas said. “As a Gold Star mother I miss my son every minute of every day, but I am happy to talk about him and talk about his service, and I hope it helps others.” 

But every year she takes a short break from telling Todd’s story—just to be with him.

“Monday, I will visit my son’s grave because he is buried here on our family ranch. I’ll spend some time there, then I will go over to Angel Fire because we live fairly close to there and I will attend a ceremony,” Christmas said.

Becky Christmas encourages everyone to attend a Memorial Day service. She will be at the one up in AngeL Fire at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, that starts at 9 a.m.

Across the state there are many other Memorial Day events:

  • Albuquerque: 9 a.m. to noon, New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial, 1100 Louisiana Blvd.
    • 9 a.m Historic Fairview Cemetery.
  • Santa Fe: 10 a.m. to noon. National Cemetery.
  • Rio Rancho: 10 a.m. Veterans Memorial Park. 
  • Corrales: 9 a.m. San Isidro Cemetery, grave site flag placing.
  •  Santa Rosa: 8 p.m. Rural Cemetery.
  • Socorro: 11 a.m. Elfego Baca Heritage Park. 
  • Tijeras: 10 a.m. Luis Garcia Park. 
  • Zuni Pueblo: 10 a.m. Zuni Fairgrounds. 
  • Carlsbad: 8 a.m. Eddy County Administration Complex.