Gold Star Mother endures first Memorial Day

May has been an emotional month for Sue VanGiesen whose son, Kenneth, was killed last July while serving in Afghanistan with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.First there was Mother's Day.Next, the Kane woman and her family were invited guests at a memorial service May 20 at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. Gov. Tom Corbett spoke at the ceremony held by the Guard's 28th Infantry Division.Then came Memorial Day earlier this week."Memorial Day brought back a lot of feelings and thoughts," Sue said with tears in her eyes. "It's not getting easier."Sue said she "always knew" the importance of Memorial Day. "Even more so now," she added. Sue and her husband, Tom, attended Memorial Day services in both Kane and at the Gibbs Hill Cemetery near Ludlow where their son is buried in a family plot.They were joined at both Memorial Day programs by Erin Sirianni, the longtime girlfriend of the fallen soldier. Members of the Frank Sirianni family of Kane also attended both programs."It's something I wanted to do," Sue said in explaining why she attended the back-to-back Memorial Day programs Monday morning. "I had to be there."A Gold Star Mother is a mother who has lost a son or daughter in the service of their country. Formed nearly 75 years ago, Gold Star Mothers is named for the symbol once placed in a window of the homes of fallen soldiers.See full article by purchasing the May 31 edition of The Kane Republican.