Memorial Day in 2011 comes just less than a month after news of Osama bin Laden’s death, which prompted a combination of relief, rejoice and unrest when it was announced May 1.
That news also carried with it at least some sense of closure for Ballwin’s Brenda Pathenos, who is among the many Americans whose loved one was honored Monday after being killed in action.
Her son, Lance Cpl. Matthew P. Pathenos, was killed in action in February of 2007 at the age of 21 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pathenos, who was a marine and a graduate of , was killed while conducting combat operations in Anbar Province.
Brenda said last earlier this month that following news of the death of bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader and alleged 91/1 mastermind, she and her husband were overwhelmed. The couple had just returned from visiting Matthew’s grandfather in the hospital when they arrived home and discovered the news, she said.
“We just fell to our knees,” Pathenos said. “We were just so grateful that our country was able to kill him.”
“And so I really felt that although our son was killed in Fallujah and not Afghanistan or Pakistan … you really know for sure that his death was not in vain, if that makes any sense,” Pathenos said. “I never thought our beloved Matthew’s death was in vain, but it just takes you do a different place.”
Matthew told his mother that he wanted to join the Marines after a sense of obligation following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, she said.
In addition to playing hockey and golf, Matthew took up flying lessons at age 14, and eventually received his pilot’s license two years later. He planned on becoming a police officer.