The family of a young Kentucky soldier killed in Afghanistan says this Fourth of July has a special meaning for them.
Dustin Gross' grave isn't even two months old, but his grandfather is determined to make the grass grow. "Come every morning, and I usually put about ten, twelve gallons on in the morning and about ten, twelve at night," Richard Brown said.
As they wait for his official headstone to be ready, Gross' family members pitch in to keep his surroundings looking right. "So we got the soldiers again and the jeeps and the parachute man again," Gross' aunt, Tracy Brown said pointing out the decorations, "and then this one, I just made a square, and it's got his name. You can kind of see it."
"I do the work, and they do the play," Richard Brown said.
But the work is bittersweet, especially for Gross' mother. "It's still very painful," Angie Brown said.
Since enemy forces killed her son in Afghanistan, Angie Brown says public tributes have comforted her nearly everywhere she looks. "It's every day, it's a continuous thing that people are still doing to honor him."
Dustin Gross didn't live to see his 20th birthday, so as his country celebrates its own birthday, his mother hopes everyone will take time this Fourth of July to remember the sacrifices made for all Americans. "Do not forget those guys that are still out there," Angie Brown said, "whether it be Afghanistan or any of these other countries. They're out there every day fighting for our freedom."
On July 21 a benefit in Gross' honor will be held in Jeffersonville Park in Montgomery County. It will raise money for care packages for soldiers serving overseas.
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