Lubbock mother remembers military son on Memorial Day - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock mother remembers military son on Memorial Day

Pictured: Andrew Engstrom Pictured: Andrew Engstrom
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Katie Crowley is what the military calls a Gold Star Mom. It means she's had a son who has lost his life while serving in the military.

"To me, Memorial Day isn't about the BBQ's," Crowley said. "It's not a three day weekend. It's not about a sale. It's about homage, it's about paying honor to those who have laid down their lives for this country."

It will be eight years on July 4th since Katie's oldest son, Andrew Engstrom, died in Iraq.

She said still remembers the day he told her he was joining the army.

"It was in 2001 right after 9/11," Crowley said. "He came to me and said, ‘Mom, my country is under attack and I want to defend her.' I tried for a week to talk him out of it, but he wasn't having any part of it."

Engstrom's heart still beat red, white and blue.

"It brought out a lot of pride in me," she said," to know that he loved his country so much that he would want to fight for it."

At the age of 19, Engstrom went to basic training.

"On his 21st birthday, he graduated from basic training," Crowley said. "He wasn't even at Fort Hood for a month before he called home and said he had his orders and he was going to Iraq."

And in one last emotional visit before he was deployed, Crowley said she took home what all moms pray they will never have to read.

"He gave me a manila envelope and said, 'Mom, don't open this until you get home,'" Crowley said. "And when I got home, I opened it and I found his power of attorney to take care of business while he was away, and his will. I said, ‘What's this with your will? You're coming home.' And he just said, 'Mom, this is just the army taking care of business.'"

One year came and passed, and Engstrom visited home one last time in March 2007.

Just two months later, as the entire country celebrated Independence Day, Engstrom died on the Fourth of July in Iraq.

"To me, Memorial Day isn't just one day of the year," Crowley said. "It's every day. I look at his picture and wish I could hear him say, 'Mom, I love you.'"

Every Memorial Day since 2007, Engstrom has gone to visit her son.

He was laid to rest in Post, his headstone bearing a poem that hangs on her living room wall.

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.

  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • Net neutrality ends April 23

    Net neutrality ends April 23

    Thursday, February 22 2018 4:00 PM EST2018-02-22 21:00:09 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 4:00 PM EST2018-02-22 21:00:09 GMT
    Net neutrality bars internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content, or prioritizing their own. (Source: CNN)Net neutrality bars internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content, or prioritizing their own. (Source: CNN)

    Net neutrality bars internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content, or prioritizing their own.

    Net neutrality bars internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content, or prioritizing their own.

  • US women beat Canada for gold in a 3-2 shootout thriller

    US women beat Canada for gold in a 3-2 shootout thriller

    Thursday, February 22 2018 2:34 AM EST2018-02-22 07:34:20 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 3:58 PM EST2018-02-22 20:58:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Slocum). United States celebrates winning gold after the women's gold medal hockey game against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). United States celebrates winning gold after the women's gold medal hockey game against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.

    Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds with a 3-2 shootout victory.

    Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds with a 3-2 shootout victory.

  • Nowitzki 'disgusted' by report of hostile workplace for Mavs

    Nowitzki 'disgusted' by report of hostile workplace for Mavs

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 2:13 AM EST2018-02-21 07:13:50 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 3:57 PM EST2018-02-22 20:57:58 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    The Dallas Mavericks have hired outside counsel to investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct by former team president Terdema Ussery in a Sports Illustrated report that described a hostile workplace environment for women.

    The Dallas Mavericks have hired outside counsel to investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct by former team president Terdema Ussery in a Sports Illustrated report that described a hostile workplace environment for women.

Powered by Frankly