Friday, September 25, 2009

When a Soldier Dies: Pfc Benjamin Franklin Betts

When A Soldier Dies is an important piece written by a Gold Star Mother. Mary Johnson is the mother of PFC Franklin Betts. I found her story over at TygrrrrExpress:

When a Soldier Dies

At Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert, I sat next to a very kind woman named Mary Johnson. Her son was PFC Franklin Betts. He died in 1997 while serving in the military. While every death, including every death of a soldier, is tragic, this death is particularly sad since it was totally avoidable. He died not from a stray bullet, but from the flu.

Mary Johnson has lived every parent’s nightmare. Her child predeceased her.

Her story is lengthy, but if one human being benefits from her words, then it will be more than worth the read. Her remarks have not been edited. Interspersed with her story are some poems written by her late son. With that, I present the story of Mary Johnson’s late son PFC Franklin Betts.


When a soldier dies, no one is prepared. The news comes as a shocking blow and life as we once knew it dies also. This is the story of how one parent was able to survive the news that her young soldier had died.
When my young soldier, PFC Benjamin Franklin Betts died, I honestly didn’t think I could survive. How does anyone get through the death of a child. I desperately needed to know that I could and would. I frantically searched for information or role models who could show me the way out of the horrific pain I felt over the death of my young son. What I found was, that there was a way, a path you might say, that could bring me to another day and a future where joy and hope prevailed once again.
My path, through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, is my path. All paths are unique. This is a book about my journey along that path. I share it with you in the hope that it will give you hope, a sort of map, as you travel your path. It is a journey that is both difficult and lonely but fulfilling and life changing once on the other side. You CAN get THROUGH this and you CAN make it to the other side of your valley.
May God bless you and keep you in his loving arms through your journey. I know that He will if you will just ask. Ask him now and know that He hears you and will answer your prayer.

Capable Hands
PFC Benjamin Franklin Betts

Oh no something happened again
Deep inside you wish the world would end
You turn your back on all you know
To let your tears flow
There’s a secret that’s centuries old
It’s a secret that’s been told and told
God has a plan, one you may not understand
You may not see it now
Like standing on a mountain looking across valleys unseen
A path to point unknown

Creating the world is easy to understand
But the trials of your life, you believe are beyond his command
Somehow too great for his mighty hand
Hands that were able to shape the skies and the seas, the mountains & trees
But not able to help you or me

It may be a secret now
But it will all work out somehow
It may not be the way you’d hopped or planned
And you might not understand
But God has a plan

When everything goes array
When it takes everything in you not to break down and cry
Remember God has a plan
It’s the same as a day when everything goes your way
When things couldn’t fall more perfectly into place
Remember God has a plan

Through the good and the bad
Through the happy and the sad
Remember God has a plan
Rest easy, your heart’s in capable hands

Notification that my son had died.
The October morning could not have been more beautiful. The sky was a radiant blue with wispy clouds brushed ever so delicately, as on a brilliant canvas. As I was preparing to leave for work, I remember thinking to myself “this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
I ran back into the house to get the rest of my things when the doorbell rang. It was 7:00 a.m. “Who could that be?” I asked my husband. When we opened the door there was a young soldier standing at the door. He couldn’t have been much older than 21, the age of my own son. He was shaking and appeared pale and scared.
“Mrs. Johnson?” he asked. “Yes”, I responded. “On behalf of the President of the United States, I regret to inform you that your son died in his sleep last night.” “WHAT! YOU MUST BE MISTAKEN!” I replied, “My son is in Germany, there must be some kind of mix-up!” He replied “Yes maam I know. Your son Benjamin Franklin Betts, died in his sleep last night, they found him dead in his room in Germany at 4:00 a.m. this morning.”

With those few words my whole world changed! My soul plunged into a hell I never knew existed. I was to learn that hell had no boundaries and no escape. It was a place that was both dark and full of terror. “No, this can not be!” I kept telling myself....

Stop whatever you are doing right now, and go here to read the rest of this heart wrenching piece written by an amazing mother, with the help of her son: Pfc Benjamin Franklin Betts...

Keep this family, all our Gold Star Families, in your hearts and prayers - with gratitude and respect.

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