A Letter From A Gold Star Father

It is tradition at many sporting events and large public gatherings to open ceremonies with either the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the Star Spangled Banner. Recently, several very public figures and star athletes have exercising their right to not participate in these patriotic displays, and instead of standing proud with their fellow Americans, remain seated or opt to “take a knee” in silent protest.

One of our Gold Star Fathers from Cape Cod, in the days leading up to the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, took the time to write an open letter which he posted on facebook along with a photograph of 6 United States Marines carrying the flag draped coffin carrying his son, Nicholas. His letter explanes this picture and also what happens when he sees a role model refuse to show respect for our country’s flag.  This Gold Star Father also printed and sent signed copies of this letter to the NFL Players Association, Roger Goodell of the National Football League and President Donald Trump. 

I felt it was important for as many people to read this letter as possible:


Perhaps it takes hugging your child and secretly praying that this will not be the last time as he goes off to war…and seeing him come home in an American Flag draped coffin before you can feel the heartbreaking loss—the true price of freedom —and the power of our Flag and National Anthem. 
United States Marine Corporal Nicholas G. Xiarhos was born and raised in the United States of America and he felt the power and the true meaning of freedom at a very young age. Like many of his fellow Americans, he was deeply affected by the Attack on America on 9/11 and he wanted to serve his Country and earn the title of United States Marine. 
Nick grew strong and proud and he did earn the title and went off to war at age 18. He and the over 41 million other Americans who have served our Country believed in putting others before self and fought bravely in the war torn Country’s like Iraq and Afghanistan. 
When he was fortunate to have made it home from Iraq, Nick told me he was proud to protect the Iraqi women and children as they went off to school for the first time in generations. And when we last spoke for the very last time, he told me that he had seen the very worst in Afghanistan and that he was tired, and he could not wait to come home and live in America. 
Nick never got that chance to live again in America. He was killed in action three weeks later and was carried off of a plane by six of his brother Marines. 
The attached picture is Nick coming home to America at Dover Air Force Base. We were shaking and trying to be strong but the tears flowed like a quiet river. No one made a sound…
Nick is buried on American soil resting on a peaceful bluff in our Massachusetts National Cemetery. Forever young and frozen in time at age 21. 
Our American flag is recognized as the symbol of freedom all over the world and it deserves to be respected by everyone. 
For all of my fellow Americans who do understand, and especially for all the Gold Star Families from all wars who will never be the same, this Gold Star Dad feels your pain every time someone or some athlete, takes a seat or a knee…and the blood boils…and the tears flow again.


Steven G. Xiarhos and Family
Proud Gold Star Family of a United State Marine
West Barnstable, Massachusetts

About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.

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