MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Memorial Day, a Minnesota family said they hope everyone takes a moment to honor our fallen troops.
Last year, the Erickson family learned that 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Caleb Erickson died while serving in Afghanistan.READ MORE: Public’s Help Requested After Car Stolen With 5-Month-Old Dog Inside; Both May Be In St. Paul Area
The marine was just two months from returning home to Waseca.
“He was an amazing young man,” said Karla Erickson, Caleb’s mom.
Not a day goes by that she doesn’t feel a void in her life.
“You think about him every day,” she said. “Some days are easier.”
Her house is full of pictures and memorials. It’s the only way for her to keep her son close.
“I can’t say there’re many days where I still don’t cry,” she said.
Erickson was living out his dream of becoming a marine in February of last year. He was on his first tour of duty, which had him stationed in Afghanistan.
“They were offering a few to be sent home early, and he turned them down,” his mother said. “He said, ‘I want to stay with my unit.'”READ MORE: Bloomington Police: Arrest Made After Reports Of A Body Being Dragged To Dumpster
Just two months before his tour came to an end, Erickson was killed when a suicide bomber hit his convoy.
“I feel really proud of him for what he did for our country,” his sister, Rue Erickson, said.
In an instant, Memorial Day took on a whole new meaning for the Erickson family.
“Of course, I think of him every day, but the thoughts get stronger around Memorial Day, or the day of his death,” his sister said. “He gave his whole life. He gave his future. He gave any possibility of settling down, having children of his own.”
On Monday, the family visited his final resting place, which sits just a couple miles from his childhood home.
For his mother, this will be the first of other visits this week because, for Erickson’s loved ones, remembering his sacrifice happens more than just one day a year.
“I’m very proud he’s my son, and he’ll never be forgotten,” his mother said.
Erickson enlisted straight out of high school and, in his short time in the military, he’d already become a decorated marine.
His family has found another way to honor his service.MORE NEWS: 1 Dead In Yellow Medicine County After Car, Tractor Collide
On Labor Day, there will be a day-long memorial event with a 5K run/walk, motorcycle ride and more. Proceeds will benefit local veterans. To learn more, go to Erickson’s Facebook page.