Patricia Boyd has made it her mission to make sure Minnesota’s fallen military members are not forgotten. For several years she’s been the leader behind a calendar to honor those who have died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in fighting the war on terror.
To be honest, she says, the task has been mostly out of a sense of duty. The rewards have been limited. Usually, only about 2,000 calendars, which feature pictures and stories of military members who have died, are sold, mostly to family members. Most people regard them as memorials and few actually use them to mark events.
There always seems to be a bigger market for cat calendars, she admits.
“It seems that anything to do with animals sell a lot, but not fallen soldiers,” she said. “They’re kind of a sad calendar.”
But still she perseveres, with a pledge to include every fallen Minnesotan until each one is honored. The 2016 calendars have just arrived. The calendars sell for $10 each through the Bryan McDonough Military Heroes Foundation, which serves as a clearinghouse for orders at www.militaryheroesfoundation.org.
A new page this year is devoted to the problems of military suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also includes a tribute from Marine Corps. Gen. John F. Kelly, whose own son was killed in Iraq. He answers the question of whether it was worth it.
“I was never able to answer that question because that day when they were folding his flag so lovingly, it came to me that it was not mine to answer,” Kelly writes. “That it did not matter what I thought — only what he thought. The answer was his to give and he gave it by his actions … by his life.”
The calendar also includes two Minnesotans whose cause of death is listed as PTSD, a recognition that casualties of war do not stop on the battlefield.
“I don’t think anyone gets tired of hearing about our fallen heroes,” she said. “People really have a sense of honoring them now more than before.”
And it doesn’t stop with calendars. On Saturday, Boyd will be among those participating at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Wreaths Across America, a holiday wreath-laying ceremony to honor veterans.