Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2011

Soldier’s widow reflects on bin Laden’s demise

May 5, 2011

Tonganoxie resident Kelly Griffiths learned of Osama bin Laden’s death via radio Monday during her morning commute to work.

She wasn’t sure it was real. In fact, Griffiths said, it seemed surreal.

Hours earlier, Americans across the country were rejoicing when news broke late Sunday of bin Laden’s demise.

For Griffiths, it wasn’t as much celebration as reflection.

Griffiths’ husband, Spc. Lucas Frantz, died Oct. 27, 2005 — his 22nd birthday — while serving in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I had a long time to think about it during the day,” said Griffiths.

On her way home Monday afternoon from work in Lawrence, Griffiths stopped at Frantz’s grave at a Tonganoxie cemetery.

“He’s definitely on my mind,” Griffiths said about Frantz. “This one person (bin Laden) has caused so much pain.”

Frantz, a Tonganoxie High School graduate, signed up for the military a week after his 17th birthday, Griffiths said.

“I remember 9-11,” Griffiths said. “I was in college at the time. We were dating when that happened. I remember thinking what was to come. I was very scared.”

Nearly a decade later, Griffiths remembers her late husband’s sacrifices.

“I’m proud of Lucas and definitely thinking about him today,” she said.

Now 28 and remarried, Griffiths thinks about what is next for the United States and whether there will be a chain reaction.

“What is going to be happening because of this?” she said. “Which is why I’m a little nervous of the possibilities.”

Frantz and several other fallen soldiers have been honored through the Walk to Remember campaign, which provides memorials to hometowns of the soldiers who have died.

The sixth annual Walk to Remember will take place starting with 8 a.m. registration Saturday in Weston, Mo. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. Griffiths said she has attended each annual walk and will be there again Saturday. For more information, go to walktoremembermo.com.

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