Lt. Col. Christopher Raible died three days after the 2012 Benghazi attack in the little-remembered Taliban siege on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
Raible’s mom, Kim, along with the family of fellow fallen Marine Sgt. Bradley Atwell, waged a vigilant battle to keep their heroes’ memories alive and to hold their government accountable for its malfeasance and cover-up.
This past month, Kim Raible has had to wage another fight on behalf of her son. A few weeks ago, she recounted on Facebook how her request for a local Memorial Day banner in the Pittsburgh suburb of Norwin honoring her son was rejected:
As we enter the month of May, the month that has so much meaning to me, our military, and their families, I was astounded today at the cruel blow the Norwin Rotary handed to me this morning. A few years ago, that Rotary started a banner program making these beautiful military banners that were hung in our town to anyone that wanted their military loved one on a banner. I was approached by a member of the Norwin Rotary to use our son Christopher Raible (KIA September 14, 2012) on the flyer that would be put into businesses for families to pick up and fill out to order a banner for their military loved one and in that same year for using our son on their flyers—a banner was hung in his honor.
Last year, there was not a banner in his honor and I did not understand why. This year, I dropped a check at the office of Dr. Aiello to hope to pay for a banner to be hung (they were members of the rotary and the people that initiated the banner program) so to be sure he was not forgotten. I received a call from Mrs. Aiello asking me what the check was for, as the banners were free, and I had told her to keep the check as a donation anyway and order the banner for my son. She then told me that my son’s banner could not be hung as the Norwin Rotary was not allowing KIA soldiers to be included on the streets of Irwin for this program, only active military. She stated that they would not have enough money to pay for KIA soldiers, too.... wow, not enough money to pay for a soldier that paid with his life.
I was willing to pay for my son’s banner but was still told they were not allowing KIA solders in their program. I was beyond blown away as I asked her why, and was told it was only for active military and not KIA soldiers. Apparently, no one at this Rotary must know the true meaning of Memorial Day or the reason for its observance.
Mrs. Raible told me that after she voiced her frustration with the policy, other families of KIA soldiers came forward to protest. She also found out that other local organizations had adopted similar policies, including “the VFW of North Huntingdon/Irwin as well as the American Legion.”
A military mom never forgets.
Here’s the good news.
Last week, in response to Mrs. Raible’s pleas, the Irwin City Council approved the flying of banners displaying the photos of three local servicemen who were killed in action at the entrance to a local park. “In addition,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, “the borough plans to allow the posting of banners for other military personnel not included in an existing banner program that honors service members from Irwin, North Huntingdon and North Irwin.” Jim Halfhill, the region’s director of public works and a former Marine, volunteered to put the banners up himself.
A military mom never forgets. And must never rest. Mrs. Raible’s fight for her son’s memory is a fight for all of our fallen. It’s a fight about never taking our freedom for granted—and never, ever forgetting those in uniform who paid the ultimate price for it.