In one of my previous articles, I drew attention to the lack of respect given to not only the victims of the attack and their families, but the entire military as well.

The politics that drive our leaders to neglect national security and the safety of our armed forces disgusts me, but even more so, it saddens me. I find comfort and hope in people like United States hockey star T.J. Oshie, who recognizes the bravery of our military, but there remains an entire segment of the population that truly comprehends both the pain and pride of a soldier’s sacrifices on a different level: our soldiers’ mothers.

Ann Marie Hancock, author of Wake Up America: Take My Heart, Take My Hand, and mother of Chip, a Captain and Special Ops Marine, wrote a letter in response to my article. I urge you to read what she has to say with an open and full heart:

I remember every detail of the morning my son announced that he was going to Officers Candidate School to help the Marines in Iraq. I remember the afternoon that I received the call that our son would deploy within 48 hours. I remember scrambling to get a flight to California ‘to say goodbye”. I wondered if I would ever see my son again in this life.

There was no instruction book for this situation. I was lost. I pondered Kahlil Gibran’s “Joy and Suffering”: “That which gives you your greatest joy is also the source of your greatest suffering.” I smiled through tears and remembered that I am blessed…I am Chip’s mother, and not even the angels can carry a child in their womb. God has only “loaned” him to me.

My life would radically change. I lived with a cell phone in my hand. Everyone at UPS called me “Ann Marie”. I bought a shiny Apple computer and watched Fox until 2 and 3 in the morning, and never missed Oliver North’s War Stories. I was living on the edge. My faith and hope would be challenged as never before.

I kept wondering if I’d said everything I wanted to say to Chip. Those last moments in the sand at Camp Pendleton with my Marine were paralyzing!

I am the mother of a Marine. It is an honor and an enormous privilege. How many step up to the plate and give their “fiat” to death if necessary for their fellow men? There is NO greater love.

My heart was breaking, but I couldn’t let him know…Chip needed my love, my strength, and my courage!

There are so many “rhetoricians”. Many…maybe most have never served in the military, but they engage in criticism and mindless chatter. The irony is that my son is laying his life on the line so that they might have that privilege. Me? I ponder mothers all over this great country quietly and privately welcoming their sons home in plastic bags and wooden chests.

There have been and will always be the “talkers” and the “doers”. Talkers can never comprehend the challenge of celebrating a son’s birthday without him, nor can they imagine the empty spot under the Christmas tree…nothing but a blow up picture of a “boy-man” and soldier in a far away desert.

My son is an uncle, brother, cousin; he is part of us and he is a Marine.

The media of  which I have been part for 20 years call them generically “troops.” They have names! They are our children… our family, and they matter! Hearts are breaking everywhere waiting for news of their safety. The mother of the Special Ops soldier who died in Benghazi for all of us deserves answers! It is the very least we can give her.

“Politician” Clinton needs to respond to that mother. A promised phone call from Clinton was not, and has not been made. As a mother, I find this horrific, and a sad commentary on apathy. What if it was your son, Hillary? Are political aspirations and ego-centered goals more important than honor, decency, and appreciation for what these “men” are doing for you and and everyone?

I urge everyone to ponder Benghazi. Write and press for answers. Our soldiers deserve them and more.

I am a stronger person because of my son and his sacrifice. Chip, Thomas Francis Hancock IV and others like him carry the hopes and dreams of millions upon millions around the world and especially at home… to live freely in peace.

I am blessed! My son came home after several deployments–Ramadi, Fallujah, Indonesia, etc. He graduates from Law School this May. He will always be a Captain and Special Ops Marine. He was handpicked and remind connected to “all his brothers”. The Marine who replaced Chip is no longer with us. He didn’t return.

I plead you! Take a moment…make a call..send an e-mail. Have relatives do the same. Demand answers for Benghazi. Do it for those who serve and die for you!

Moms need and deserve answers.

Politics should not factor into the amount of respect we give our armed forces. Our military men and women constantly risk their lives, and they deserve to be treated as heroes, regardless of our political party and personal opinion on foreign affairs.

The families of our military need our support.


Elizabeth Marcello | William & Mary | @eliz_mariah