On June 25, a Galveston mother, Meghan Billiot, became part of a community no one wants to join. Her son, Sgt. James Gregory Johnston, was killed in action serving our nation in the Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan; she’s a Gold Star Mother.

His wife, Krista Johnston, and unborn child also became a Gold Star Family that day.

Gold Star families are a reminder of the service and ultimate sacrifice of our nation’s service members and families. We owe this family a debt we can never repay. Never forget that Sgt. Johnston paid the ultimate sacrifice defending what we hold most dearly as Americans.

Quoting Gen. George S. Patton, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men that died, rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

On this year’s Veterans Day, most fittingly, Jamie Avery Grace Johnston was born the daughter of an American hero. His life and legacy will live on in his precious daughter, and we will never forget.

Join us on National Wreaths Across America Day where we will honor Sgt. Johnston’s Gold Star family and the hundreds of veterans buried at Lakeview Cemetery at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at 3015 57th St. in Galveston.

National Wreaths Across America Day is a day when communities across the nation gather to remember our fallen, honor those who serve and teach younger generations the value of freedom.

This is the third year that Lakeview Cemetery will participate in this national event. This year’s theme is “Everyone Plays a Part” and volunteers are needed to place over 300 wreaths.

A special thank you is owed to J. Levy & Termini Funeral home, Lighthouse Charities, Veterans of Foreigns Wars Post No. 880, Marine Corps League Detachment No. 668, Master Chief Robert Gonzalez and the United States Coast Guard Houston/Galveston, Master Sgt. Donnie M. Winter United States Air Force, Honor Flight Houston, Fanfare Lutheran Music Academy, Texas A&M Maritime Academy, and the many volunteers that help make this event possible.

For more information and to volunteer, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org or email andrew_farrant@me.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @lakeview.waa.

Andrew Farrant lives in Galveston.


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(3) comments

Charles Douglas

It is good and admirable to remember the brave, valorous, unselfish acts of love that our young people performed in the service of this great nation! Though their acts of sacrifice came at different times in our history, they are no less important to the nation we are now! From Bull Run, to Gettysburg, from San Juan Hill, to Bataan! From Midway to Pork Chop Hill, From Khe Sanh to to Fallujah to Kamdesh, ...How can we even lay a price on what it took to build this type of Democracy with their love, determination and service? Thanks to them, this country serves as a light in the darkness of humanity! It is a country where one, by his will to think, hope, imagine, and work can rise up from poverty, to prosperity, from obscurity to being famous! One can worship freely in his or her own way without being imprisoned. In short, in America, each of its citizens are free to live the good, good life referenced in a song the BEACH BOYS, made famous in the sixties! The author quoted General Patton as saying, we must not only remember that such men and women died, but remember that they lived! I concur! While remembering, I try to do things in the service of others, and treat people in ways they would approve. We the living, because of their acts ...get to do that ...THEY DON'T! Bruce Lee once said, " The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering." I think what our fallen warriors, as well as our living veterans gave us, puts them in that category, and so they should always be appreciated and remembered by a greatful nation called AMERICA!!!!!

Bailey Jones


Wayne Holt

Each service member who has paid the ultimate price with their life, or forfeited a whole life through physical or mental disability due to their active service, has given something that few of us will be asked to give. They did it, for the most part, out of love of country and a desire to make a contribution to the freedom we have enjoyed.

But what is our part in all this, beyond the act of acknowledgement of these incredible sacrifices? We owe them much, much more than just our thanks or even the laying of wreaths.

We owe every single one of them our solemn oath that we will not send them into harm's way for any reason other than to preserve our safety, our way of life and the protections we often take for granted. Sadly, there are many Gold Star Families whose loved ones paid this price but to what end?

Sgt. Johnston was killed in action in Afghanistan, part of a conflict that has become the longest running war in US history. Not one in 1000 Americans can give a good reason for our continued involvement. Fifteen of the 19 World Trade Center attackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one from Lebanon, and one from Egypt. You may note that the US has good relationships with these countries, and sells weapons to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Does this make you question the reason for our troops being in Afghanistan?

As far back as President Eisenhower, we were warned about the militarization of our national purpose and the use of foreign wars to pursue policy agendas that have nothing to do with our own defense.

Let's honor real heroes like Sgt. Johnson by making sure we let our representatives in Washington know the endless wars, the violence perpetrated on the helpless and the continued stream of letters going out to Gold Star Families must end

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