Kansas woman asked to lay wreath at Tomb of Unknown Soldier

OTTAWA, Kan. - The nation's capital invited a Kansas mother to take part in the 150th anniversary of the Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

Sherry Wright-Anderson of Ottawa stood nearby as President Obama remembered all those veterans who have served the country.

Wright-Anderson was one of a very select group of people to be asked to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the President's ceremony.

She has never served in a war but Washington knows she has served in a way that would make most people thank her for her service and sacrifice.
Her family has heard the trumpet of Taps played over and over again. Three of her uncles were killed in war; two of them gunned down in flight. One was on his final mission in World War II.

Her father was the only son of four who survived service. The U.S. military pulled him out of Okinawa.
Wright-Anderson said a messenger told him why, "He's gonna have to get back home and he said his other brother was killed."

She said her father did not leave his WWII tour of duty easily.

"He said it wasn't fair and then he (the messenger) said it's not fair to your parents if they lose another son," she said.

In the Vietnam War, she also lost a cousin.

She said she saw how Vietnam veterans were rejected when they returned home. So it was then, Wright-Anderson decided to dedicate her life to those who have served their country:
"I'm going to do whatever I have to do to keep this from ever happening to these boys from ever coming back like the Vietnam vets," she said.

Wright-Anderson co-founded the Franklin County Veterans Memorial and now is a national Associate for Vietnam Veterans.

She continues to make sacrifices of her own still today: she has a son who served in Desert Shield and three grandsons serving in the military now.
Wright-Anderson said it's a proud legacy established by her family's past generations.

"America is what it is because of those boys who go over there and fight. Our freedom is not free," she said.

205 men and women have died in war just from Franklin County, Kan., alone.
For more information about the Franklin County Veterans Memorial, visit their website here.


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