Do They Know……

A Washington Post photographer captured this private moment of Sgt Brian Scott paying respects to Spc Michael Gonzalez on Memorial Day of 2010. When this picture was placed in a Memorial Day article on the Washington Post website it became very public.  The picture has circulated on Facebook post and placed in Meme’s, liked, loved, commented on and shared thousands of times. Good, bad or indifferent makes me smile to see it shared.

Do people read his name on the headstone? If yes, do they Google to see who he was? Do they read the dates of birth and death? Do they understand that Operation Iraqi Freedom means he was KIA in Iraq? Do they know that BSM means Bronze Star Medal and PH means Purple Heart?  Was it noticed that “In God We Trust” is the last line on his headstone?

Why are the words “In God We Trust”

Why are the words “In God We Trust” the last line?  On September 10, 2008 is the day Michael was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Before the service at his gravesite we were sat down in a cubicle with a notebook of symbols and examples of what we could chose to put on Michael’s headstone. If you can imagine for one moment of the fog we as a family were in at that time. We chose the cross at the top and the rest was the same with BSM and PH spelled out with Purple Heart being the last line. About two weeks after the services in Arlington I had an overwhelming feeling that Michael’s headstone needed to say “In God We Trust”.  Immediately I called Arlington to speak with to the head person to see if I could change the headstone. He said “Ma’am the headstone maybe done already. What did you want it to say?”   I told him and he said he would do the best he can and he did.

The Seal of Honor Facebook Page

The most recent post was on the Seal of Honor Facebook page on September 26, 2017. With the post reading,  “To those who gave the last full measure of devotion, may we endeavor to be worthy of your sacrifice.”

The word “endeavor” stuck out for me what does it mean “endeavor to be worthy” for me it is exactly what Butterfly Circle of Friends has been successful at accomplishing since the founding in October 2008. We strive to honor Michael’s memory by supporting others.  Being part of making the difference in veterans, military and civilians’ lives.

Spc Michael Gonzalez

Gold Star Mother’s (Family) Day


When the Blue Star turns Gold....

When the Blue Star turns Gold....

On the last Sunday in September the day is set a side for recognizing the sacrifice of military families who's loved one died in service to the United States of America.  The President's Gold Star Mothers and Families Day Proclamation

For many years it was just the mother's who received this recognition.  The death of a child effects the family as a whole in our case Pedro (dad) and Troy (brother).  None of us will ever forget the day the CNOs (Casualty Notification Officers) walked up our sidewalk. "The United States of America regrets to inform you Spc Michael L Gonzalez ..................." .  They did not need to speak the words because as soon as I seen them I knew.  Like you're in a movie but a million times worse because you're at the receiving end of the tragic news. Our lives as we knew it was changed forever.

I remembering saying ,"We can not do this alone." meaning coping with our grief alone as a family.

In recognition of Gold Star Mother/Family Day.  I share some of the resources that we as a family used to help us cope with the greatest loss in our lives our beloved Michael.


Military Resources:

Army Survivor Outreach Service

TAPS - Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

General Grief Resources:

Compassionate Friends - Child Loss

Grief Recovery Method