TEXAS — This Memorial Day we take the time to remember the sacrifices and lives lost of the service members who have died in the performance of their military duties.
MSG (Ret) Tracey Brown-Greene survived a 2016 suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan and she is here to remind us why Memorial Day is so important.
Brown-Greene stands in a chicken coop outside her Harker Heights home. It might look like she is just feeding some chickens, but for Brown-Greene it is therapy.
"They take away my pain of being here. You might could say it's survivor's remorse or they take away my depression and sometimes they take away my anxiety,” Brown-Greene explained.
She served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. Her Purple Heart medal, given to those who were wounded or killed while serving, is a painful memory.
"It's a blessing because it makes you realize how important every day is, and it's a curse because it makes you feel exactly what happened to you,” said Brown-Greene.
Brown-Greene got wounded in Afghanistan in 2016, when a suicide bomber attacked killing 11 soldiers and a civilian.
"Memorial Day is one of the hardest, the most difficult days, because you have that opportunity to remember,” she explained.
A doll in her home holds a photo of one of her friends, SFC Allan Brown. He died during the attack.
“If it wasn't for Sergeant Brown, or any of the other soldiers that died, we wouldn't be here today to actually see something different. Our lives have changed drastically because of their sacrifice,” said Brown-Greene.
Never forgetting that day, the mom of four continues to serve. She wears many different hats. In addition to her senior vice commander role with the Military Order of the Purple Heart for the Department of Texas, she is an executive committee member for DAV 29.
During one of her most recent visits to DAV 29, she met with Willie Keller Jr. He served in the military for 17 years.
“Over at DAV, we do veteran services where you take care of spouses and widows and just veterans,” Brown-Greene explained.
They want people to remember Memorial Day is much more than a three-day weekend and a chance to barbecue.
"As crazy as it may sound, Memorial Day means more to me now that I'm out than it ever did when I was in,” said Keller. “We think about the soldiers, not just soldiers, but the service members that lost their life in combat… acknowledging the ultimate sacrifice that some service members given."