A Houston widow's Memorial Day message

HOUSTON Water fountains splashing on the ponds are about the loudest sounds you'll hear at the Veteran's National Cemetery in northwest Harris County, and maybe a breeze rustling the leaves. But as a widow makes her way through rows and rows of our American brothers and sisters, you begin to understand the tranquility allows her thinking, praying and even crying.

Blanca Brown Gerbitz knelt at her husband's gravesite Monday. She lost Donald Matt Gerbitz, a Vietnam veteran, two and a half years ago after 30 years of marriage. Their four boys are now men, men she still strives to guide with his help.

"Help me guide these children, raise them correctly without you," said she to her husband's gravesite.

It's tradition for Blanca to spend part of her Memorial Day at her husband's gravesite.

"I cry," she said. "I get mad because he died."

And as others bearing flowers journey through the maze of markers, Blanca says you don't need to be a family member to pay a visit.

"There are a lot of tombstones out here without flowers or roses," said Blanca. "It would be nice if someone would adopt some of these solders and bring little flowers. Bring them little flags, Teddy bears, say 'I love you. I haven't forgotten you'."

And when Blanca's visit is over this Memorial Day 2009, there's a reminder that freedom isn't free.

"They paid with their lives," they said.

Donald Gerbitz has a 38-year-old son currently serving in Iraq.

Earlier Monday at the Houston National Cemetery, hundreds of people attended an annual Memorial Service to remember the fallen. Mayor Bill White was there, as well. He says Houston is second on the list when it comes to cities in the U.S. with active-duty military in the armed forces. Los Angeles is tops on that list.

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