For Gold Star families, every day is Memorial Day.
The Johnston family has had three generations of service to the United States military.
Today will be the first Memorial Day in 24 years spent without their son, husband, and now father, Sgt. James Johnston.
11 months ago, Sgt. James G. Johnston was killed in the line of duty while on a mission in Afghanistan.
“I have an hour and 20 minute drive to work there and back, and that’s my quiet time with James. The first thing I do when I get in my truck is say, ‘Good morning James Johnston.’ And I’ll talk to him. I’ll tell him how much I miss him. How much I love him. How proud I am,” said Richard Johnston, his father.
Sgt. Johnston had just finished his first tour in Korea, and he was in the process of being moved to Ft. Hood when he found out his fellow soldiers were being sent to Afghanistan.
Johnston could have stayed stateside, but he wanted to support his teammates.
“But I have no doubt James still would’ve gone, because he believes in us. He believes in our system, in our country,” said Richard Johnston.
Sgt. Johnston was known for always brightening up a room and wearing bright Hawaiian shirts every Friday as sort of a morale booster.
Now, his father carries on that tradition.
“We got pictures from guys he was with in Afghanistan wearing Hawaiian shirts. We got pictures of people in Okinawa, Australia, Germany. I mean all across the globe,” said Richard Johnston.
While many of us are enjoying cookouts with family and friends, it's also a day to remember those who have paid the ultimate price so that we can have our freedom.
“I am honored to have a son like that... and our country should be too,” said Richard Johnston.