MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Gold Star mother is reminding people that Memorial Day is not a celebration, but a remembrance.
"He was a fun-loving guy. He always loved to make people laugh and smile," said Lynn Forehand, who remembers her son, 24-years-old, Ryan Haupt.
Haupt enlisted in the Army in 2000 at age 17 after accelerating his high school education and getting his parent's permission.
"I think he probably would've made a career out of it. Because he kept re-enlisting, and he loved what he was doing so much," said Forehand.
He was a staff sergeant and Army sniper.
"He loved the tools of his trade," explained Forehand, "He actually had signed up again before he was killed."
It was October 2006 in Iraq, just a day or two before he was supposed to come home.
"That was the hardest part because he had made it that long, then to have it happen the day before he was supposed to come home, that was pretty hard," said Forehand.
She put her grief into giving back. She joined Gold Star Mothers to keep her son's memories alive. There she helps other military moms remember their children who died serving as well.
"Gold Star Families want people to know that Memorial Day is not just a day to have fun. It's a day to honor and remember who sacrificed their lives for this country so they could be out having fun," explained Forehand.
Normally she and her family go to the Memorial Day service in Monroe County where she and her family live, but this year it will be virtual due to the pandemic.
"We remember the good times," said Forehand.
There is also a virtual event on Monday organized by a Gold Star mother.
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