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.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

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.

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