Anna Workman shared her thoughts about Memorial Day and her son, Army Sgt. Chris Workman, 33, Rupert. Workman was killed in a helicopter crash on April 19, 2012 while serving in Afghanistan.
It is very difficult to talk about my son, even at this point, one year later. We love our son and miss him very much. Perhaps because it was so sudden, as casualties of war are, or perhaps we just did not realize how dangerous his situation was, we were shocked at his death.
I don’t know that there is very much that can prepare a pilot for disorienting dust storms in the dark of a moonless night. He never spoke about his missions or where he was exactly or what the crews were up to. We had many friends whose sons and daughters had been deployed and they had returned to their families. No one ever expects the weather to kill someone in a war zone. I would imagine though, that history shows that the weather is a huge factor during tactical operations of the military. Nevertheless, since we were a non-military family, we were hoping for the best during his deployment and his safe return to us. We hoped that he would have returned and continued his life inconspicuously. We hoped that he would have completed his officer’s training and continued to bigger and better things. We longed for the day that he would have transferred back to the mainland from Hawaii so that he and his family would have been closer to the rest of our family.
As a young man, we insisted that Chris go to college and earn a degree. As parents we felt that it was important for his future. When he graduated from I.S.U. with his Bachelor’s in Business, he worked in Boise for several years mostly involved with the real estate business. He did not seem satisfied. He later joined the Idaho National Guard and I believe that event was the beginning of a turning point for him. He had often dreamed of a military career but did not really have the opportunity until after college. In the three short years that he was in the ‘full time’ military, he loved the life, the work, the importance of it, but most of all he loved the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers. He was attached to the 174 Chemical Unit at Scofield Barracks in Hawaii and watched the activities and the busy atmosphere of the 2-25 Light Infantry Unit across the street at Wheeler Air Force Base and finally volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan with them.
As Memorial Day approaches, I watch as all the families and communities prepare for the first long weekend of the summer and wonder if they truly understand what it means to be able to do the activities they take for granted. I never realized that most of our national holidays are military oriented. As the flags line the streets and towns, I flash back to our time of sorrow as we buried the remains of our boy. I wonder in 50 years who will know or even care, or if his sacrifice made one drop of difference. I hope the mothers of all the lost children, who cradled their babies in their arms, know that there are many of us and that we will always have holes in our hearts and souls from our missing children.