By Kassie Simmons | May 31, 2021 at 2:45 PM EDT – Updated May 31 at 7:27 PM
PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Six years ago, seven families lost their Marines in a helicopter crash off the coast of Florida. A Pender County woman lost her husband, the father to her infant daughter.
“My parents called me to tell me to turn on the news and I called my husband’s phone and he didn’t answer it,” said Destiny Flynn-Draher, recalling the tragic day. “At that point, I just kind of knew that it was his helicopter that went down.”
Flynn-Draher lost her husband Liam during a training event off the coast of Florida in March 2015.
“I don’t even know how to describe what you go through. It’s a feeling that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy to be honest.”
Sgt. Liam Flynn was one of the seven Marines from Camp Lejeune killed in the accident. Destiny’s saving grace was her daughter and a drive to pass on his legacy.
“She’ll ask about his job and what he does. She’s very close to his family in Ireland and that’s really good because they get to share those stories.”
Destiny has her own stories about Liam to share, so she started running with the Gold Star Race Program, training for marathons and sharing his story along the way.
“I just want people to know that he’s still there and that he has a story and that he sacrificed so much for this country.”
The Wear Blue Run To Remember aims to honor over 65,502 service members killed since the Vietnam War, showing their pictures along the race route to inspire the runners to push on.
“At that point in the race, you feel, like, really tired. When you get there, you’re running and you see all these pictures, so you’re searching for your loved ones.”
With each step, another memory comes to mind of her late husband and his love for his country.
“I remember him telling me, ‘Don’t let my family take me home to Ireland, let me show that I’m buried here in Arlington.’ A true patriot. He just believed in everything this country stood for.”
As you fire up your grills or go for a swim, Destiny laces up her shoes, complete with Flynn’s dog tags, and asks you to remember:
“Just take a moment — whether it’s 10 seconds, 15 seconds. That’s just what I really want people to do because we do live in an awesome nation and we’re so blessed to be here.”
The Gold Star Race Program opens the Wear Blue Run to Remember race to everyone this Memorial Day. You can register to be matched with a fallen veteran to represent during your run or walk here. Participation is free.
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