Chris Weir is a Gold Star brother, who lost his brother David in Iraq. I wanted to have Chris on the show to discuss what he experienced in losing his brother, and how he eventually made the decision to follow his brother's path and join the 101st Airborne where his brother previously served.
Chris talks about how his community pulled together during his family's most difficult time. He describes the loss of his brother as a strange feeling of devastation and pride.
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Scott 00:00 Hey everybody. This is the Drive on Podcast where we talk about issues affecting veterans after they get out of the military. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show.
Scott 00:14 Thanks for joining us on the drive on podcast today. We have friend Chris Weir uh, who actually we met through my wife who was on the show last week and she was Chris's real estate agent when he moved out to Arizona and, uh, Chris served in the military and Chris and I both share a similar story, um, to some extent. Um, both of us lost our brothers, uh, in, combat. And I brought Chris on the show because I kind of wanted to hear his side of, of everything because at the time. Unlike me, he was not serving in the military and, uh, I wanted to see how his brothers, uh, what happened with his brother has affected his military career and, and other things throughout his life. So, so Chris, uh, you know, welcome to the show and, tell us a little bit about yourself, you know, where, where are you from and all that.
Chris 01:14 Thanks for having me, Scott. Appreciate it. So I'm originally from a small little town called Chattanooga, Tennessee in southeast Tennessee, Georgia, Georgia border, um, born and raised there. And, um, when I, uh, grew up right and graduated high school, went on to a college in Nashville and then, uh, being around a few different places, lived in Ohio for a little bit. Um, but now we are here out in Arizona. Um, I'm married, have two daughters, therefore I'm bold. They are both, uh, teenagers. So my oldest is 16, my youngest is 14, and, and, uh, I have no hair to prove it. So, um, so yeah, that's a, that's basically, yeah, me in a nutshell.
Scott 01:57 Sure. Yeah. So, so let's, let's jump right in. Let's start talking about, you know, when, when you joined the military and Kinda the, the circumstances surrounding that, um, you know, everything that happened kind of with your brother, how that happened. And then, then what influenced your decision to join the military?
Chris 02:16 Yeah. September of 2006 was when my brother was killed in Baghdad. And so I had always, I had always wanted to join the military. It was something that I always wanted to do pretty much every my father, his father, his father, his father, father, father, you know, all down the line. Um, everybody had served. And, and then of course my brother as well. So I was always struggling with the idea of when I got older, sitting on the front porch with my grandkids, not being able to tell them, you know, a story about being in the military and serving my country. So, um, it was something that had been on my mind for many years. I was getting older at that time, at least older, not compared to today, but at that time I was getting older for joining the military anyway. And I was, I was knocking on thirty's door and so September came around, David was killed in Iraq.
Chris 03:16 Um, that whole event is, as you know, um, is just, uh, it's a, it's a crazy situation. It's just so very different than, than, uh, losing a family member, you know, to health issues or even a car crash or something. Not to say that it's any easier necessarily because it's certainly not in any circumstance to lose anyone, but I mean just little things like how long it took for them to get his body back to the states. Right. Because it has to go through Dover and, and the whole nine. And so we were sitting around the town in our town happened to be and, and still is today and incredibly patriotic town. Very, very patriotic. So during that whole time we had, and at that same time to add to the whole, the, the situation was that a silly little group out of Kansas had threatened to come protest at my brother's funeral. So we had, you know, a security posted at our house. I mean, we had police escorts everywhere. Obviously the community members of the community constantly dropping by. Members of the press and the media were always around. Um, and I got promoted to family spokesperson.
Scott 04:37 I was actually kind of wondering about that because that was very similar to what happened to us as well. I came home from Afghanistan and landed at the airport. There was a state police officer there with my family who said, you know, we're gonna take you around, kind of like the back way out so that you can avoid all the news vans that are waiting for you at the airport. Right. How they knew I was coming that day and at that time was like, I had no idea. But when we got ended up getting to my parents' house there, news vans lining up the street and everything like that.
Chris 05:07 it's a weird, it's a weird thing to deal with. I mean, it's like, I mean, literally one day you're just a Joe blow going about your day. Yeah. And then the next day, literally the next day it's news interview after news interview. Hundreds of community members coming by. People you don't even know. I mean, people, I've never even met all the politicians on the local state and even the federal level coming into visit and, and pay their condolences and all of it's awesome. I mean, that was so appreciated. I mean, it was like, wow. I mean, all of you were moved this much by the sacrifice my brother made. I mean, that's really incredible. We were talking the other day and I shared with you, it's kind of this, this weird place where you're stuck between devastation and pride. It's, you're just completely devastated that you just lost, you know, and I had just lost my brother, um, who, who was my best friend and was my brother.
Chris 06:03 We were the closest in age. And, um, and I mean, I've literally talked to him before we went out on a mission. We talked over the phone before he went out on that, that last mission. And, and so, I mean, we were very, very close and so devastated by losing him, but at the same time, so dang proud of what he did. And so freaking proud of how the community stood up. And you know, I mean, even these <inaudible> protestors, they flew into Chattanooga and none of the taxi companies would give them a ride. So they couldn't even leave the airport, they couldn't get away from the airport. They got stuck. I mean, is that not the most incredible thing? I mean, great. That is absolutely awesome. So, yeah, I think that that whole deal a month, two months, maybe three months after that, it really started sinking in for me that it's now or another, it wasn't his death that motivated me to join because again, I'd always wanted to, but it was kind of that kick in the butt.
Chris 07:00 I needed to finally, finally, uh, get up and go do it. Yup. Um, so I actually, I went in, he was killed in September. I went in, um, I believe it was December. I went in into the recruiter and, uh, said, you know, I wanna I want to join up and do the deal. And of course the recruiters knew who I was, you know, and they wouldn't let me join. Um, so they, they said, no, it's, it's too soon. Um, you have to wait. So I had to wait until the next summer. They were, they literally just wouldn't let me join. Have you ever heard a recruiter turn someone away? You know, so that was the first. I know, it's like an amazing thing. Now that I've been through the military, it's like, holy crap, I didn't, I don't think that ever, usually it's just, can you fog the mirror?
Chris 07:43 But, um, but anyway, so, so yeah, I had to wait, um, until the summer and, and then finally the next summer, um, I, uh, I shipped off to basic and, uh, it was tough. I mean, it was tough, more tough on my family. It wasn't really, I mean, I knew, because obviously we're in, could we think we're in control of ourselves at least. So I wasn't, I didn't have the fears necessarily, but I mean, obviously my mother, my wife, um, my daughters were very young at that time, so it wasn't really sinking in with them. They didn't really grasp everything that was going on. But, uh, but definitely the rest of my family did. Um, some of them weren't happy with me, you know, that I had joined. They were all supportive, obviously, but, uh, but certainly not happy that I made that decision. So, so yeah, it was a, I think it was July is when I shipped off to fort lost in the woods, misery.
Chris 08:35 Um, Aka Fort Leonard Wood there. But, uh, but yeah, I did my basic training in the middle of the summer up in, uh, up in Missouri and, and went down to San Antonio for a little bit for, um, combat medic training and then on to Fort Lee, Virginia, and then eventually got stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, the hundred and first. In fact, David, I don't even know if I've mentioned his name. David is my brother's name, but, um, he was actually stationed exactly where I was, so I wasn't able to get into this unit because I came in as a supply sergeant and they already had one, so I didn't get his unit. But, um, he was there at Fort Campbell, that's where he was stationed. So I got to hang around all, all the guys that he was with.
Chris 09:25 Um, there was, it was good in that there was some bad, you know, bringing up memories, bringing up stuff that I didn't want to think about necessarily. But, um, but it was nice to be around those guys. They all look out for me and they were all younger than me. It was funny, but that's what they were all looking out for me. So, you know, or at least they thought they were. I let them think that.
Scott 09:48 So when we talked the other day and you, you mentioned that your, your family and yourself have a, uh, a goal of like basically not letting his memory kind of kind of try and hopefully, you know, with this, this helps a little bit, you know, it was this podcast episode or um, you know, but what were some of the things that your family and your, you have done to keep his memory alive? Were there stories that were told? Were there, uh, you know, organizations that were, you know, you know, serviced or, you know, whatever, um, what were some of those things that you guys did?
Chris 10:15 Yeah, so very early on we made the decision that, um, that we did not want to shy away from sharing his story. You know, there's a lot of families that make the decision and I totally understand that decision to be perfectly honest with, but, but some make the decision, they don't want to talk to the media. They're just, it's a private affair and they're going to deal with it with their own family and internal. And that's it. And I totally get that. We made the decision though that, that, um, and, and I think in part, probably because of how we were raised, um, and the community that we lived in our whole life, just being so patriotic, um, that it was just kind of how we did things.
Chris 11:09 I, I guess is the best way to say it. So we made the decision that we were going to share his story when given an opportunity and, and make sure that, um, that yeah, people could be maybe inspired by his sacrifice. Um, so, you know, obviously we were open to any media interviews and my goodness, are they open to giving them, um, Geez, it was a, we didn't turn down any media requests. Um, so we, we did interviews on radio, on TV, um, national, um, Fox News and CNN. We did it, uh, one of their broadcasts up. So we did, we did quite a bit of, of media. But then also little things, I mean, um, and, and some things that are just in the community, right? Like the school that we went to all, uh, there's four of us boys. Um, and we all went to the same elementary school.
Chris 12:07 We terrorized all the same teachers and they remember every one of us. And, uh, but they, you know, they named the, the, um, the, the drive, they're right in front of the road, right in front of the school. Uh, Sergeant David Weir boulevard, I think it was. And um, there's a, uh, David T Weir day and, and there's an annual, he played football in high school and at the high school they retired his number and they, they do an annual, um, now there's an annual, award that one of the football players wins at the end of the year. Um, and it's one of the big awards that they give away every single year. Um, uh, so in that, that's all over the place. The veterans organizations have things that they do every, uh, Memorial Day. There's, um, uh, a ceremony that's done where they recognize David and, and so there's just, there's just so many things in the community, so many little things, and we just decided to let it happen and let people, um, you know, show their love and appreciation for what he did and, and hopefully let that be an example, you know, let the community be an example to the rest of the country.
Chris 13:22 You know, we lived up in Ohio, I share with you for a little bit, uh, up in Ohio. Um, and nothing like that happened. You know, again, not that anybody in Ohio is mad because they're not, but they certainly didn't go out of their way when they all service members and certainly not like, you know, to the seated. So, so we really wanted that to be, um, be something that happens. So, so, yeah. So that's, um, into this day, those things continue to go on. They still have events and celebrations honoring my brother, I'm constantly getting asked to fly back to Tennessee for, for this little organization who's doing this little event to to come and, and be the keynote or to pass the award out or whatever it is, you know, hand me the award out. And um, I think that's awesome. I just, I love it.
Chris 14:09 I and keeps him alive, you know, for me anyway.
Scott 14:18 Yeah, that, that's great. And it shows how, you know, what your, your intention was in terms of not letting his memory die and, and letting that live on shows how, you know, it really hasn't died, you know, all these years later. Um, you know, he's still in the memory of people, especially in your, your, your community there.
Chris 14:37 Well, you know what's amazing, Scott is, is just this past year, there were a, the group of kids in elementary school at that time, right. And so I always remember those kids. Um, and we always talked about this is how whenever we would make presentations, cause even when I got into the military, I was constantly coming back again for all these events every single year. And I was able to involve my commander and my first sergeant got involved in, and we had, you know, I brought, you know, challenge coins and we brought some flags back from Iraq and, you know, all that kind of good stuff, um, to pass out.
Chris 15:09 And, and I always remember talking to everybody about the, the young boys eyes that were in fifth, sixth grade at that time and how they were so glued to what was happening in front of them, you know, and especially when they would show pictures of David, you know, and I mean, he was, he looked apart, man. I mean, he was a military guy, right? I look like a goober. He, he looked the part, he was absolutely the, the soldier soldier. And he was certainly gonna make a career out of it. But, um, you know, you could see the, you could see their eyes. And then just this past year, I remember some of those kids and I'm watching them ship off to basic joining all the, all the different branches. You know, there was, there was, uh, one of our little cousins went into the Hebrews, I know little anymore.
Chris 16:01 He's bigger than I am, but, um, uh, went into the Air Force, you know, and uh, you know, others that are joining the Army and, and one, one of the marines. And even the friends that David had that some of them were, you know, just young kids, right? And they do what young kids do, which is basically nothing. And so they weren't going to college, they weren't doing anything. And these, these guys stepped up and they all joined and, and you know, you kind of hit the nail on the head a second ago, it's just letting it, he keeps living on in so many different ways, not just the events and awards and all this, but in the lives of the people that he touched that are now going out and laying their life on the line for this country. And quite frankly, that's what it's about.
Scott 16:46 Absolutely. I mean, you know, I, I kind of wonder, you know, from your perspective, if you ever think about like how many of those kids are, well not kids anymore, obviously, right? How many of them joined because they saw you walk in, in and uniform, like, wow, I want to do that when I grow up. Or, you know, or, or the stories that they've heard about your brother or other things like that.
Chris 17:15 Like, you know, we, we joked about this amongst ourselves because it was actually kind of funny, but that year that my brother died on Halloween, you could not have found an army uniform in any of the Halloween store. All the kids wanted to be soldiers in that town. We're talking about a town of 100,000 people. I mean, it's not the, you know, it's not a huge town by any stretch of the imagination.
Chris 17:39 It's still small town, but not tiny. I mean, it's a pretty good size community, you know. And you know, the day of his funeral, there were no flags anywhere. All the stores sold out of flags. The streets were lined for 30 something miles. Wow. I mean, literally 30 miles. We the, the, the route from the funeral home to the national cemetery there in Chattanooga was a 30 mile drive when we arrived in Chattanooga. The last cars were getting onto the interstate back in Cleveland. Oh Wow. I mean it was unbelievable. The Patriot Guard Riders were there the whole night. It was just, it was just an amazing event that I think everybody took something from I, it went so beyond our family. It was so much bigger than David. It was bigger than any of us and I truly believe he made a major, major impact on many, many, many lives and still does to this day.
Scott 18:44 Yeah. And it sounds like he definitely had that sort of impact on not just your family and in the community, but the whole surrounding area where people kind of see how, how that one sacrifice kind of brings people together. Like you were talking about before with the group, you know, coming into, you know, kind of protest his funeral and everything. Not even the taxi drivers would give them a ride. Yeah. That's great.
Scott 19:11 I know, doesn't it make you smile? Like I was like, it's like you could help it. It's like I don't, I don't want to see those people give any sort of how exactly. I don't even sort of let the restaurant hilarious.
Chris 19:21 You should have seen the place the police had the roped off for them too. It, it was actually quite funny. It's kind of marshy, swampy little area. They would have had a lot of fun there.
Scott 19:32 But the good thing, like you said, the Patriot Guard Riders where they were there would not have never seen them, never seen them. And that's the thing. Those guys are awesome. By the way. There was, there were, there were rumors that those same people might have a, you know, come to to my brother's funeral as well. And the Patriot Guard Riders were there and they were like, don't worry about it.
Scott 19:53 They're not lying. They meant business. So yeah, there'll be taken care of. Absolutely. Don't worry about it.
Chris 20:08 Absolutely never felt safer in my life. Exactly.
Scott 20:08 So let's talk, if you will, a little bit about, um, sort of a, maybe the grieving process, if you will. And you know, I know you talked a little bit about how you kind of decided, you know, yeah, this is time to join the military and everything, but, but everyone goes through a little bit of, everyone has a different grieving process. Some people are locked themself in a room for days on end and you know, they cried themselves to sleep and all that stuff. Other people have different ways. And so let's talk a little bit about like kind of how that looked for you and even kind of longterm, you know, did you go to any sort of counseling or anything like that or like what type of, uh, you know, things are happening with you?
Chris 20:56 So, you know, I'm generally not the type of person who looks back and says, I wish I would have done things differently. Um, but probably it would have been a little healthier for me if I would have stopped and grieved. Um, I allowed as being the family spokesperson, um, I allowed myself to get wrapped up in the mission of keeping his memory alive. Um, and that literally was almost a full time job. I mean, it, it's quite amazing actually. And so I dove into that, you know, for the 30, 60 days there, um, after his death. Um, I just kind of drown myself in all of that. Coming out of that, jumped right into work, you know, and, and working on joining the military. Um, so I knew that I was going in, you know, so you got to get ready for them, especially when you're, you're in the type of shape that I was in. So, um, so yeah, I had had, had just kind of dove my, all my faults and all my energies and all my efforts into that. Um, it wasn't until basic training. As a matter of fact, when we were out, um, uh, on the bayonet field and during the bayonet training, um, and how, for whatever reason, for me, that was just an intense training. Everybody experiences all the trainings differently. But that one was the hardest training for me because for whatever reason it clicked with me. There I am training to kill someone. You know? I mean, that's literally what I'm being trained to do right now.
Scott 22:36 And with bayonet training, that's, that's up close and I'm going to reach out and touch somebody, 300 yards away.
Chris 22:53 Well, and it's so intense because you're sitting there, it's a dummy of course. But yeah, but you're literally sitting there with all, all the physical nature of like seriously attacking this dummy right in front of you. And obviously drill sergeants, yelling and screaming. It's like everybody's having a blast because it's the funnest thing they've ever done. Yeah. And all I could sit there and think about was, you know, my brother going through this, you know, and how all of a sudden it was like, he was a very, very weird moment for me where it's kind of like, it just clicked with me. Holy Crap, my brother was killed in this, you know, and now I'm doing this. Like, what the literal hell am I doing here? You know? And really and truly, I mean, I certainly shed plenty of tears during the whole ordeal, the funeral and all that kind of stuff. But I literally broke down and fell to my knees in basic training on the bayonet field and, uh, Drill Sergeant Gatewood.
Chris 23:50 I'll never forget him. Greatest, greatest man I've ever met in my life. And they knew that cause I had challenge coins, general's coins, and that other, you know, like none of these guys have any of these coins. I'm coming in as the fricking E-fuzzy, you know, and I've got, got my coins. And uh, so at first they didn't like that until they learned, why I got them. But so he came over and um, really and truly was just talking that through and, and it was very strange because what ended up happening, even though my brother died when I was not in the military, my grieving took place while I was in the military. And you know, because you went through when you were in the military, how a service member grieves is very, very different than how a civilian is going to grieve. Right?
Chris 24:36 Even if it's a family member, because you've got to think of it from a different perspective, right? You still have to accomplish missions. You still have to get your job done. Um, and that job is, is what just killed your brother. Right? I mean, so it's, gosh, it's so weird. God, it is the most weirdest situation thinking back on it many years later now. But, um, but it was, it was then, that's, that's when I started my grieving and, and I think through basic training, um, I remember graduating basic training and drill sergeants coming up to me, you know, and they're like, you know, this was for David. Yeah. I mean it was like, Dang, man. I mean, this is really, really cool. So my grieving wasn't, you know, I, I, you know, I didn't, um, I don't know. My process was just very different.
Chris 25:28 You know, I, like I said in the very beginning, I dove into just keeping his memory alive, but then during basic training, I was able to reflect a little bit. And, um, and that's a weird time to be. It is. It is a very weird time to be reflective. Um, but, but it worked for me. It really worked well for me. I was able to really process it, um, put all of it into context and I really, after that I was good. Um, got to Iraq. My commander was, um, he was pretty awesome. And, and he got found the report of my brother's death. He found it, um, and dug and got it and got the coordinates and asked me if I wanted to, to go where he had died. And of course we were down in Tallil so we were in southern Iraq.
Chris 26:19 David obviously died in Baghdad of a more north than we were. But, um, so I thought about it for a little bit. I am like, oh Geez, do I really want to do that? But then it kinda clicked with me. I'm going to be the only person in my entire family or community that will ever be able to see where David died. Cause none of my family's ever going to get out. Right. Well I hope they don't go. Not really good vacation spot. But, um, but that, that was kind of weird, right? I mean that was, that was, that was like an untouchable, that I wasn't even thinking about that as a possibility to be able to actually go where he died and uh, but, but I decided to go, we took the trip up there and that is, I think where, I don't know, I don't want to call it closure because I, it's not closed.
Chris 27:11 I think about David all the time. Um, again, we're constantly doing things, um, in his name and there's scholarships and they're all this different stuff that's out there, so he's always front of mind. So I don't think it was necessarily closure, but I think it was certainly the, the, the turning of the chapter that I needed, that it was like, okay, now I can move on. Yeah. That's what I, for whatever reason, for me personally, odd as that may sound, that's, that did it for me. And that's where I was like, well, I'm moving forward now. That's amazing to have that opportunity presented to you where many people would never have that opportunity. I got to imagine most a Gold Star Families have never had any opportunity, you know, presented to them to be able to go back to that location. Um, now thinking back at, you know, losing a loved one in some other way, uh, you know, car accidents or something like that, you might drive past the intersection or something.
Chris 28:21 And so you get that opportunity to be in that, that location. Um, in a way that might be hard, especially if you live in that area, you drive by it every day, but that first time you go there and you, you could probably have a similar peace with the situation moment. Well, you know, and you can piece it together in your mind a little bit too. And I think that's part of the processes. Trying to get your head around what happened. You know, I, you know, when I was younger, um, my cousin, um, I lost him to a car wreck and um, he was my best friend. He was actually on his way to pick me up. And, and it was being able to go to that spot where he had his wreck. Did offer a little bit of of closure in that I understood what happened and I mean, you're right.
Chris 29:09 How many, I mean, I, I can't, I, I can't imagine there's very many at all Gold Star Families who's ever had the opportunity to go back to where their loved one, you know, was killed. I mean, how do you even get that, that information as a civilian, right? I mean, cause that's classified information so you couldn't even get the coordinates to where it happened, you know, unless you had a, you know, a buddy that was there or whatever. But so it was a very special and a very unique opportunity. It's that I, it was very, very hard. I'm not going to lie. It was very difficult, but I can look back at it now and I cherish that. I was able to do that. Um, because that's really what I needed to move forward in my life.
Scott 30:00 And I bet now had you not chosen not to go, um, now looking back at it and you, Mike, I'd be so mad at myself and be like, Oh, why not?
Why don't I just pull my head out of my know I would, I would be in a constant state of kicking my butt. So that's good. I'm glad you had that opportunity to have that closure closure necessarily, but you know, close that chapter. Exactly mentioned. So anyways. Yeah. So is there any, anything else that you wanted to share about your brother or about your, uh, your service or anything like that that might, uh, potentially maybe help some other people or, um, you know, help people kind of find their own closure in their own way, in their own situations or anything like that that you want to share?
Chris 30:58 You know, I guess the one thing that I would, that I would go back to is, is as far as the, the, the family that's left behind, I think so many times we, um, and rightly so. Um, we talked a lot about the service member, um, and their sacrifice and how, um, amazing of an individual to lay their life on the line for their country. I mean, how does it get any better? I mean, I'm not quite sure. It doesn't get any better than that. Yeah. Cause I mean does it get any more patriotic? I'm not sure. But anyway, um, but what ends up happening, or at least what I found through our experience is that, um, obviously the military in all of its faults and it has plenty, um, caring about the Service members who've passed. They don't drop the ball and they, they do a pretty freaking good job. They are very obviously trained and very respectful and the, the whole funeral process and they have the, you know, was kind of an assistant. The casualty assistance officer or whatever it's called.
Chris 32:06 Um, they come in and, and uh, they stay there, you know, as long as they need to stay there. And, and I'm still in contact with ours today cause he was at Fort Campbell obviously. So I hung out with him when I went there. And so, um, even to this day, I still talk to that guy, but, um, I certainly saw everybody come out immediately after it happened and therefore, you know, a good 30, 60 days after it was front of everybody's mind. And then life keeps happening for everybody and they go on about their business and it was literally like a light bulb switched off. You know, like somebody flipped a switch one day. It's police escorts and security and community members stopping by and the next day it's, Oh God, now what? Now what do we do? And so I think the one thing that I think about is, is especially with the wives and mothers and fathers and siblings that are, that are left behind, I would speak to the civilians in this respect and say, it's still hurts in month six.
Chris 33:15 Don't forget about them. Right? Check in on them. Make sure they're doing okay too, because it still hurts. Sure you know it. It's not better. It just because the funeral's over, just because of the pomp and circumstance and ceremonies and all the recognition and all the media and all that kind of stuff is gone, doesn't mean that it feels any better. As a matter of fact, quite frankly, once that stuff has gone, that's when it starts sending in a little bit and you start probably feeling, or at least for our experience, started feeling more of it because we actually had time to realize what was the full scope of what was happening. So I would say to the civilian, certainly, um, don't forget them, you know, 60, 90 days later, go back and keep checking on them. Don't, if you truly removed by the sacrifice of the service member, then be moved enough to, to keep going back and helping the family, you know, because the family gets forgotten in this a lot.
Chris 34:12 I think unfortunately, um, the Gold Star family program is, is, is, you know, it's cool. I mean, it's great. I, it's an honor to be a part of, obviously, um, it sucks to be a part of it, but it's an honor to be a part of it. Um, only sucks because obviously I don't have a brother. Cost of admission sucks. Um, but yeah, I would say certainly don't forget the family members, um, that were left behind. Um, just, just stay with those guys, keep your arm around them. Um, they're going to need help. Even after, um, all the news vans have driven away. I don't even know if they do vans anymore. New trucks or whatever they are after they've driven away. There's, there's still needs. Everybody still needs those hugs, you know. Um, so I think that would be, that would be my big encouragement for those who lose someone.
Chris 35:10 Um, and then the broader, you know, for the service members who do come back right and aren't lost is, you know, and I know that you have and probably will much more talking about this on your podcast, but the find help if you need it, man, if you're struggling with anything at all, there are so many people who want to help. There's just so many people dying to help you out. Um, go dude, it's weak to not do it. It takes strength to go and do that. So, you know, you've been strong and everything else you just got through with the fricking deployment or whatever, you know, don't fricking. Don't, don't, don't go off and do something stupid. There's plenty of people that want to talk to you. So for the service members that would just throw out that encouragement.
Scott 36:05 Absolutely. Yeah. I would definitely echo that. Same, yeah, same thing. All of that. Everything with the gold star families that you were talking about and, and all the way down to the, uh, you know, to the military who are coming back, you know. Absolutely. So let's Kinda wrap it up with one last question here. Um, is there anything that you wish someone would have told you before you joined the military?
Chris 36:28 <Laughter> I was waiting for that question to come out. I knew there was coming, you know, of course, other than don't listen to the recruiter. Um, uh, it's all lies. It's all lies. No, I'm just kidding here. So many recruiters who might be listening right now, they're so pissed at me right now. Look, I love the recruiters. Ah, no, no, seriously. Um,
Chris 36:52 it's not all lies. It's not all lies. They're just doing their job. So, uh, something that I wish I would have that somebody would've told me, um, when I was going in. Um, wow. Um,
Chris 37:12 I guess probably I had always kind of, what is the word I'm looking for it, if you've never been in the military some, and I was one of those, kind of set service members on a pedestal. Like they're not quite normal people. They're like superheroes, right? I mean, you kind of look at them in that respect. Absolutely. You know, and they're so completely not right. Right. I mean, don't get me wrong, that's not a, that's not a, a a hit on those guys. It isn't. They are just like every other American. They just made the decision, what does a 2% or whatever, less than 2%. Um, they are of that small percentage that just made the decision that they'd be willing to lay their life down for their country, for people they've never, ever met before. Um, but they're just normal everyday people like us. And so when I went in,
Chris 38:22 I was so surprised by that. I was expecting to be among gladiators. I mean, seriously, I'm like, okay, where's the Iron Man? Where's the, you know, yeah. I mean it's like these guys are supposed to be up
Chris 38:34 and they're great individuals that are just like, I was just not, which I think the overriding message is, you don't have to be some big superhero character to join the military. You just have to have a passion for serving your country. And its people of every single walk of life, every ethnicity, every sex from every single corner of America. These guys and girls are coming in and they are super heroes because of that, that little decision but everybody could make that decision. So I wish somebody would've prepared me for that. Then I was going in amongst just some great people, just some regular regular Joes and Janes that made that decision. That's it. It's kind of interesting. Was cool.
Scott 39:39 All right. Well, thank you Chris for sharing your story and everything and I'm so happy that you were willing to come on the show and talk about everything and um, you know, hopefully this, this story can open up some eyes and, um, and if at the very least that it's another way of keeping your, your brother's memory alive and for that, I'm happy to have you to help. And for that, I'm appreciative. Right. Thank you.
Scott 39:54 Thanks for listening to the drive on podcasts. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, drive on podcast.com we're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at drive on podcasts.