Gold Star Family copes with somber anniversary of son killed fighting in Afghanistan War

2,200 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan War

Taliban takes control of most of Afghanistan after US spends 20 years there

DETROIT – Monday is an important day for a Rochester Hills Gold Star Family as it commemorates a sad anniversary.

A Gold Star Family is the immediate family member of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict.

One member of the family, Sergeant Kyle McClain, was killed in the Afghanistan War.

Read: Biden says he stands ‘squarely behind’ Afghanistan decision

Read more: Biden says Afghan collapse faster than expected

Local 4 News visited the Veterans Memorial Pointe for a closer look at how this family is continuing to cope with the loss of their son and the fall of a country he died trying to protect.

For the cars that zip along Livernois in Rochester Hills, they may have looked over at this lovely park at Avon and thought, oh, that’s pretty, but might not understand its significance, especially on a day like this.

Geraldine McClain, the mother of the fallen soldier is often there.

There are many places in Michigan that have the name Sergeant Kyle McClain emblazoned, embossed and engraved, but this place is close to her home and close to her heart.

Monday, Aug. 16, 2021 marks the 9th anniversary of the day McClain and her husband Mike and their daughter, Kristin, and Kyle’s wife Lisa laid him to rest.

He died in Afghanistan on Aug. 1, 2012 making life better for others.

“I feel sad that this event has gone on forever and forever and so many people not just Americans or like my son who died, but it has impacted a lot of people,” McClain said.

As McClain watches the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban after 20-years of war, with 2,200 U.S. soldiers killed and $2 trillion spent her perspective is that it wasn’t all a waste because for a short window of time life was made better for women, girls and children.

And what she is angry at most is the inhumanity, she believes is coming next.

And so as she keeps her son alive, at this beautiful place, by a wandering creek, in this sacred plot of land that’s dedicated to her son, she continues to mourn his passing.

It doesn’t hurt less, it hurts differently, but her pain is not just a mother’s pain.

It is pain for a nation that had only a brief respite of hope that now appears to be gone.

Read even more: Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what’s next

Watch more:

Gold Star mother's view on crisis in Afghanistan and her son's service there

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.