In the days leading up to Veterans Day, WNPR brings you stories from veterans and those in their community.
Diane DeLuzio had two sons who joined the military.
"My older son, Scott, was Sgt. Scott DeLuzio, part of the Connecticut National Guard and he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010," DeLuzio said. "My son, Steven, Sgt. Steven DeLuzio, also a member of the U.S. Army in the infantry, a member of the Vermont National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq in 2006 and returned home safely, and was returned to Afghanistan in 2009 and 10. In August of 2010, August 22, 2010, he was killed in Afghanistan and that is what makes me a Gold Star mother.
"Shortly after Steven died, I connected with someone who’s now a good friend, Sue Martucci, who was spearheading a project called the Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial. And at the time they didn’t even have a location for this memorial but by joining that committee, it enabled me to meet other Gold Star families who were going through the initial shock of losing a loved one.
"Five years later, planning a memorial and a dedication for next year where we can honor the service of all veterans and especially pay tribute to those who lost their lives. And so I've had the privilege of meeting so many veterans, so many military families, and Gold Star families who honestly are probably the only ones who can really understand what it’s like to lose a child in service to the country.
"It is very difficult until you’ve gone through it and so I think being there for those who it’s more recent I think, I hope, has helped them through this unimaginable pain that you go through.
"To me, Veterans Day is for those people who answered the call to duty unselfishly throughout history."
DeLuzio has been working on the Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial.