Lynn | American-Hero | Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Dearest Rhys:

Today you would have turned 30 years old. It is so hard to believe that time has passed so quickly without you. What makes it so difficult, is that you will forever remain 20 in my mind, in dad’s mind, and in so many other hearts and minds. We will never know what you would have looked like, what questions you would have asked, or how you would have handled parenting.

What we do know is what kind of person you were and what kind of person you would become. You were truly “that guy.” You would have approached every celebration, every problem, every life event with that contagious smile and enthusiasm. You were and would have continued to be a man of courage, faith, and conviction. You would have protected your new family with your life, as you did with your brothers in arms. Dad and I would have continued to be amazed and proud of the way you approached your life.

SGT. Rhys W. Klasno

What is it like without you here? Despite knowing exactly where you are and that we will be reunited again, there is a huge gap where you once stood. Life here can never be the same without you. Our universe, Stephanie’s universe, your friends’ universe all shifted slightly the day we were notified of your death. Heaven certainly gained a soldier of the Lord, but we lost a piece of our hearts and only God’s promise of the hope in Heaven has gotten us this far.

We miss you, Rhys and will continue to miss you until that glorious day when we are reunited. In the meantime, we will honor your memory by sharing your short life with everyone we meet. We will love on your daughter, London whenever we can. We will rest in knowing that you are safely united with the Lord in a new body, and that you are free from the fear, pain and tears that accompany our temporary life in this world.

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Ps 4:8

Happy, happy birthday Rhys!


Lynn | American-Hero | Monday, May 23rd, 2011

As I drove along the freeway to work one day, I noticed a group of young people in a car bearing a peace symbol on the window. I wondered to myself what kind of statement that symbol was intended to make.

Was it a somewhat naive expression of a feeling that we should all “just get along?” Is it an avowed expression of “peace at all costs?” Is it a statement that war is wrong? Do the people who post a peace symbol truly have a depth of understanding about the statement they are making?

I understand the desire for peace. What human being doesn’t want peace? But peace is obtained at a price. And, despite the cost, history proves peace is never a permanent state. My son was a soldier. He fought for peace and at a cost no mother wants to pay. General Douglas MacArthur said it best: “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

It is true; no soldier wants to go to war. But what the soldier understands is that there are values worth fighting for and one of those values is the dignity of human life whether it is here in America or it is somewhere else on the globe.


Lynn | American-Hero | Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

I miss Rhys the most this time of year. It’s not because of all the holiday fuss or because it’s the anniversary of his death. I miss him most in November because it is the same month that I saw my son for the very last time. Rhys came home on leave in November, 2006. We had an early Thanksgiving dinner because he was scheduled to leave again before that day. I didn’t see enough of him of course, because he was still a newlywed, just past the 1st anniversary of his marriage to Stephanie.

Rhys’ leave was extended because the day after Rhys left Iraq to fly home one of his team members was killed. Rhys was the only member of the unit home on leave and he had already served on the Honor Detail at Riverside National Cemetery. Rhys was asked to participate in the honor guard detail for his teammate and friend, SSGT Rudy Salcido.

Rhys discussed it with his Dad. I knew he was doing the detail but I did not discuss all the ramifications of his undertaking that assignment. There are some things a son just doesn’t discuss with his mom.

Looking back I wish I had paid more attention; more attention to what Rhys was feeling, more attention to someone else’s loss. On the other hand, it may have made me more fearful for Rhys when he returned to duty. War is an ugly thing, and for a mom with a son on active duty, sometimes ignorance is bliss.

But now I look back to try to remember everything we said. I look carefully at the photo taken of Michael, Rhys, and me trying to find some clue, something I never saw before. I strain my eyes and ears wishing that I could see and hear Rhys speaking to me from the picture. I know it’s crazy, but couldn’t I just recapture that moment in time once more? I want to hear Rhys laugh. I want to see that big grin, not in just a picture, but face to face. Rhys overflowed with joy. That is what I miss so much.

Would we have done anything differently if we had know it was the last time we would see Rhys? What did we do that day? We told him we loved him and missed him and couldn’t wait for the end of his deployment. He told us he loved us. I guess that is the best thing to do in all situations. Tell your family you love them as often as you can. No, we would not have done it any differently. Everything that needed to be said, had been said. Strip away everything else and an expression of love is all that is really needed.

Be All That You Can Be

Lynn | American-Hero | Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Although some jobs in life may seem small or unimportant in society’s eyes, all of God’s choices for us are the best choices because they are purposefully given.

I’m reading a wonderful book by Randy Alcorn entitled Safely Home. One of the characters has been denied a position is his chosen profession because of his faith and has figured out that the position that God has chosen for him is most important. When the character learned this lesson he posted the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his wall: (more…)

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