KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) — Next Monday, on Memorial Day, Americans will remember and honor the military members who sacrificed their lives while serving our country.
It’s the one day a year where we stop and pay our respects. However, for some families, every day is Memorial Day.
Kettering residents Jim and Leslie Groves said the price their son, James Groves III, and all fallen military members, paid is a national debt that can never be repaid.
Jim said James had the perfect smile just like the ceramics laying around his grandparents’ house. He also had an adventurous spirit that would take him around the world.
“All of a sudden one day he came home and said, ‘I need a note. I’m not going to school tomorrow,” Leslie, the mother of James III, said. “I’m like, ‘Okay, you better have a reason.'”
He did. He and some buddies were joining the army. Leslie had the normal mom reservations about her child going in the military and the potential risk involved, but it was the mid-90’s, and the world was relatively quiet at the time.
“He said, ‘I got a great job, dad. It’s putting out sensors and listening devices behind enemy lines.'” Jim said.
James’ Army career took off, initially, in intelligence, jumping to air assault, and then, as his dad puts it, that wasn’t exciting enough. He wanted to fly.
By then, the world wasn’t so quiet anymore. James, call sign Blackjack 31, was on his second tour in Afghanistan on March 16, 2013, in a routine live-fire exercise in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
“Lieutenant Cole was in charge of the bird,” Jim said. “The fuel pump failed. He did everything he could do and then he said, ‘we’re going in,'”
“It happened to be a Saturday,” Leslie said. “We were at home. I saw 2 uniforms get out of a car parked in front of the neighbor’s house. All I could say was, ‘No!'”
Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Groves III, their son, a husband and a father was gone.
“My son did more than all of us,” Jim said. “Much better man than I.”
“We have met a lot of the guys that served with him over the years,” Leslie said. “All of them tell us what an outstanding officer and young man he was.”
His parents are ensuring his name will not be forgotten, spending every second honoring their son, and every other son and daughter, that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
40-hour work weeks are the norm for this retired couple, but it is time well-served.
“We’re thankful for all that gave their all,” Leslie said. “What we have to do for them is to say their name, so they are never forgotten.”
James is buried in Arlington Cemetery; however, Jim and Leslie say they often walk the National Cemetery Grounds at the Dayton VA for comfort, saying the names etched onto gravestones so they will never be forgotten.