Marine's Widow Says Memorial Day Like Every Other

Marine Sgt. William Cahir died in combat in Afghanistan last August. A few months later, his wife gave birth to their twins. "I try to be mindful every day about how I can teach them about their father, and how I can hopefully make them understand someday that he loved them without having ever met them," she says.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


And as America remembers its war dead on Memorial Day, we're hearing from family members and friends of fallen soldiers and Marines.

Sergeant Bill Cahir had an unusual resume for an enlisted man. He was a Capitol Hill staffer, then a Washington journalist before joining the Marines at age 34.

Reporter Jacob Fenston visited Sergeant Cahir's widow at her home in Alexandria, Virginia.

JACOB FENSTON: Rene Browne is feeding one of her twin daughters mashed peas.

(Soundbite of an baby cooing)

Ms. RENE BROWNE: Are you hungry? OK, open up.

FENSTON: Browne's husband, Bill Cahir, was a Reservist on his third deployment: Helmand Province, Afghanistan, August 13, 2009.

Ms. BROWNE: They were ambushed by insurgents, and Bill died from a single gunshot wound to the neck.

FENSTON: Browne was five months' pregnant. The twins were born in December, released from the hospital just one day after Cahir's detachment returned from Afghanistan.

Ms. BROWNE: So the morning of my discharge, my mother-in-law and my brother were there to pick me up and take us home. But I kept playing through my mind how if things had been different, it would have been Bill there at the hospital, coming to meet his daughters and take us home.

(Soundbite of an infant)

FENSTON: Since then she's been on maternity leave, taking care of her daughters.

Ms. BROWNE: I really dont feel anger that Bill went on that deployment. Bill was doing his job. And he wouldnt have been the man I loved and chose to spend my life with and raise a family with, had he not made the decision and honored the commitment to go.

I do, however, miss him terribly. They will never miss him the same way that I do. But I try to be mindful every day, about how I can teach them about their father, and how I can hopefully make them understand, someday, that he loved them without having ever met them.

FENSTON: Browne says Memorial Day is no different than any other day.

Ms. BROWNE: Every day is a day that I remember my husband and grieve his loss.

FENSTON: For NPR News, Im Jacob Fenston in Washington.

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.