Caril Guilliams is president of the Gold Star Wives of America, Oklahoma City chapter. She says no matter how much time has passed, the loss of her husband doesn’t get any easier.
“He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and he had just a few weeks left of his tour there before he came home. And he was killed June 30, 1970,” said Guilliams.
She said it was one of the worst moments of her life. A colonel knocked on the door with news that her husband was killed in action flying over Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Guilliams’ husband was James Freeman Elkin. He was a 27-year-old military man. He first served in the Air Force and then continued to serve in the Army. Back at home, he was also a family man with a wife and daughter.
Guilliams says, “My then three, almost four-year-old, was on her knees on the bed and looked terrified. I felt so helpless.”
She met him when she was 13 and he was only 15. She said they were best friends who fell in love. After all these years, there is still emptiness. “I wonder sometimes what would we have done if he had lived to be older,” said Guilliams.
But Guilliams knows she is not alone. She finds comfort through the Gold Star Wives of America, an organization of women whose husbands died fighting for our country. Every Memorial Day, Caril and others gather to remember their servicemen. Today, they honored their husbands at the Veteran’s Memorial in Oklahoma City at a ceremony.
The Gold Star Wives laid a wreath in honor of their fallen servicemen. They say it was great to see hundreds of people at the ceremony honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.