FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The playing of the taps is a melody that's forever engraved in Melissa Thomas's memory.
"The loss of Jason is felt every day," said Thomas.
Her husband, Chief Warrant Officer III Jason Thomas, served with the 3rd Special Forces Group, fighting the war on terror.
"He was a true warrior," said Thomas.
But her husband entered a new battle when he returned home from Afghanistan.
"Jason was diagnosed in August of 2017 with T-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma," said Thomas.
Seven months later, Thomas died.
His wife Melissa still struggles to understand while their kids are trying to cope. That's why Memorial Day, despite the popular greeting, has never been "happy" for the Thomas family.
"We do celebrate. We celebrate a life. I guess we can be happy about the memories we'll have but today is a somber day," said Thomas.
A day of remembering their hero but also those who support them.
"I think they forget that yes the soldiers serve but so does the family," said Thomas.
So while you may only hear the playing of the taps on Memorial Day, for Gold Star families, it's a constant melody in their heads and hearts.
"Just remember that there are so many people who have died fighting for that right to be an American. For that beautiful flag," said Thomas.
Gold Star family remembers fallen loved one on Memorial Day