for our children
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music playing: GOD BLESS THE USA

Lucas Christopher Ross "Luke"
October 31, 1979 - April 3, 2001
Acute Bronchopneumonia

YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE performed by Debby Boone

So many nights I'd sit by my window
Waiting for someone to sing me his song
So many dreams I kept deep inside me
Alone in the dark but now you've come along

And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

Rollin' at sea, adrift on the water
Could it be finally I'm turnin' for home?
Finally a chance to say "Hey, I love you"
Never again to be all alone

'cause you, you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

It can't be wrong
When it feels so right
'cause light up my life

It is mid summer and JULY has arrived in all it's glory. School is out, children are at play, and family's are getting together for pic-nics and cook-outs. For many of us, there is someone very special missing at these get-togethers. That someone that makes our hearts beat a little faster.... is missing. That someone that causes teardrops to trickle down our faces.... is missing. That someone that we long to hold just once more.... is missing. But through the longing, and the tears, and the racing hearts.... we remember those wonderful days that were shared with this someone special. These special souls live on in all that is around us. Patiently they are watching, waiting, and hoping that we somehow realize that inside the love, inside the laughter, and inside the simple pleasures of everyday life.... there they are, shining through.

2010 - Christine Ross

JUST LIKE FIREWORKS IN THE SKY Christine Ross in memory of Luke Ross

My mind is lit with memories
Just like fireworks in the sky,
Illuminating days of old
With explosions of goodbye.

The glimmer of your smiling face
Irradiates my consciousness,
While flashes deep within my brain
Ignite thoughts of happiness.

The luster of the distant past
Set my thoughts of you ablaze,
Reminiscing in the afterglow
Of burning pain I can't erase.

The beacon of your spirit
As it shines throughout the night,
Reminds me that the sunrise
Is just barely out of sight.

So I look up to the glowing flame
And see your brightness didn't die,
You light a spark in all of us
Just like fireworks in the sky.

2007 - Christine Ross

FIREWORKS DON'T LAST FOREVER Christine Ross in memory of Luke Ross

You're the one that made me sparkle,
Gave my eyes that happy glow.
But fireworks don't last forever.
It's something I've come to know.

Your death started an explosion
That blew my perfect world apart.
There's no more fireworks in my life
Because the light's gone from my heart.

You had your independence day
When your soul let freedom ring.
Your spirit soared with fireworks
When you left these earthly things.

I never walked in darkness,
Not until you left that day.
Fireworks don't last forever,
But for awhile you lit my way.

2006 - Christine Ross

EXPLOSIONS Christine Ross in memory of Luke Ross 1979 - 2001

Those fireworks that explode in the sky
on the forth of July...
to me are a representation
of the explosion within my heart
that occurred on that dreadful day that my son died.
These fireworks within my heart
do not end when the day comes to a close,
they continue to explode....
and will,
until the day that I see
the illumination of that sweet,
beautiful face of my son
in those eternal fireworks in the sky....
that I continually long for.

2004 - Christine Ross

I light up like a night on the Fourth of July.
I shine like the sun in the summer sky.
I glow like a field in the moon's full light.
These are the things that I do when you smile at me.

I hear the song birds melody.
I hear the softest rain on the streets.
I hear the wind pushing through the trees.
These are the things I hear when you speak to me.

~ Don Consentini

Saturday in the park
You'd think it was the fourth of July
Saturday in the park
You'd think it was the fourth of July
People talking, really smiling
A man playing guitar
Singing for us all
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And Ive been waiting such a long time
For today

Funny days in the park
Every day's the fourth of July
Funny days in the park
Every day's the fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And Ive been waiting such a long time
For the day

~ Chicago

Oh the smell of the smoke as we lay on the land
and the feeling of finding my heart in my hand
with the tiny tin voice of the radio band
singing love must stand
love forever and ever must stand

All on the Fourth of July
On the Fourth of July

~ James Taylor

So say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day
All down the line
Just say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day this time

~ Bruce Springsteen

Let freedom ring
Let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is the day of a reckoning
Let the weak be strong
Let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away
Let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day

~ Martina McBride

Starry eyed
As you put your hand in mine...

It was twilight
On the fourth of July
Sparkling colors were
Strewn across the sky
And we sat close enough
That we barely touched
While roman candles
Went soaring above us

~ Mariah Carey

I lay awake awhile, watching the ascent of the sparks through the firs, and sometimes their descent in half-extinguished cinders on my blanket. They were as interesting as fireworks, going up in endless, successive crowds, each after an explosion, in an eager, serpentine course, some to five or six rods above the tree-tops before they went out.
~Henry David Thoreau

I will miss you most of all when the sparks light up a July sky.
~ clem

American child, there's a burning inside you
That calls you away through the cold
To come back again to all that you've been
Can't you see that it's time to come home?
~ John Denver

The only true freedom is found waiting at the end of that journey to Heaven.
~ clem

The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree.
~Thomas Campbell


When we were living in Louisiana and Luke was a little fellow, he had a friend named Beau. Beau was born on July 31, 1979 and Luke was born on October 31, 1979. Robin (my husband) and I were young adults and Beau's parents were very close to our age. The boys would get together at each other's houses, or for sleep overs, or for birthday parties, or just to play. Those two just loved to pull every single toy out of the toy box and just sit amongst the mess.

In 1979, the year that both Beau and Luke were born, the TV show 'Duke's of Hazzard' was also born. In the show there were these two young men named Bo and Luke who drove around on dusty roads in a big orange car. In the show Bo had blonde hair and Luke had brown hair, just like our Beau and Luke. The car was orange and black, which was perfect because Luke was born on Halloween.

Well, of course Beau and Luke fell in love with the show. When that show came on the TV and they heard it playing they would drop their toys and come running from Luke's room all excited. Luke would be screaming "Du of Hayard", because he couldn't quite pronounce 'Dukes of Hazzard' and Beau would be yelling "Yee Haa". They were glued to the TV the entire hour watching that big orange car jump across creeks and over hills as the theme song 'The Good Ol' Boys' played in the background.

Years passed and Beau and Luke grew apart but they would always have that 'Duke's of Hazzard' connection. We moved to Arizona and 8 years later, Luke died alone in his room at the age of 21 from Acute Broncopneumonia in the year 01. We were devastated. Less than a year after Luke died we went to visit Louisiana and I saw Diane, Beau's mom. She hugged me as I cried on her shoulder and she told me how sorry she was.

Then the next year I received a call saying that Beau was going into surgery for a brain aneurysm. Beau (age 23) did not survive the surgery. The Good Ol' Boys were together once again.

When I saw Diane just before Beau's service, she cried on my shoulder as I told her how sorry I was. She just kept saying over and over...."I didn't know how much it hurt". The sound of us two grieving mothers crying and moaning as we held each other is a sound that will haunt me forever. It was so difficult during Beau's service because this was the first death since Luke had died a year and a half ago and it was the death of Luke's 'Good Ol' Boy'.

I believe that Beau and Luke are in Heaven riding around in that big orange car, making all the twists and turns of that long dusty road. As the wheels left the ground all those years ago and landed over on the other side I could faintly hear them saying "yee haa". One day we will meet them at the end of that long dusty road, they will be waiting, and smiling and running to greet us, so that we too can ride in that big orange car and cross to the other side with 'The Duke's of Heaven'.

I still watch the Duke's of Hazzard and listen as they say the names Bo and Luke. The number on the big orange car is 01 and I can't help but think how it relates to Luke's death because Luke died in the year 01. My heart just can't comprehend that the 'Good Ol' Boys' are gone.

I think about the 'Good ol' Boys' in Heaven and know they are the same wonderful young men that they were here on earth. Like the theme song for 'The Duke's of Hazzard' states.... "The Good Ol' Boys, wouldn't change if they could."

2014 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


Where did all the children go?.....
Those that slept so quiet and sweet
Rocking them throughout the night
Hoping they would never leave.

Where did all the children go?.....
The ones that used to run and play,
Walking hand and hand together

Making memories everyday.
Where did all the children go?.....
Those that off to school would fly.
We kissed their little forehead's
As they waved and said good bye.

Where did all the children go?.....
They talked for hours on the phone.
We waited up long nights for them
Wondering if they'd soon be home.

Where did all the children go?
With their laughter that resonates
Within our hearts and in our minds
How we wish they could have stayed.

Where did all the children go?..
With those smiles of simple trust
That made us feel like ten feet tall
Before childhood faded to dust.

Where did all the children go?...
Their eyes reflect upon our souls
We gaze upon the past because
They died without growing old.

2014 - Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


May the good Lord be with you
Down every road that you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true
And do unto others as you'd have done to you

Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to Heaven
With a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young, yeah

And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
For, forever young, forever young



I saw the parade on Main Street
And the flag of red, white, and blue.
I watched the fireworks in the sky
But my mind still drifted to you.

I saw a family having a picnic
And heard the music from the band.
I watched a little boy with sparklers
But I still reached out for your hand.

I saw the day come to a close
And felt the tears upon my face.
I watched for you in everything
But still nothing can take your place.

2014 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2002


We traveled America, the land of the free, with Emily (our daughter) and Luke (our son), beginning when they were very young. Luke was 6 months old when we took him on his very first camping trip. We first began camping in a tent, then from there we progressed to a trailer camper, then we bought a motor home. We had some wonderful times, and special memories traveling this beautiful country we lived in and were so thankful for our freedom to do so.

You know the old saying..."Getting there is half the fun." With Luke, it was so true, and it was probably MORE than half the fun. As a little fellow loved to aggravate his sister Emily who was just a few years older than him. Luke seemed to always be getting in trouble, at least once a day on the road. Since the only "ROOM" we had in the motor home was the bathroom, that was the designated TIME-OUT room. So at least once a day, Luke would spend a little time in the TIME-OUT room. But Luke was so efficient. He never wanted to waste any play time. After his 10 minutes were up, I would open the door to tell Luke that he could come out now. Well, I can't even count how many times I would open that door, and there was Luke, sitting on the toilet, with his pants around his ankles, making good use of his time with an expression of his freedom.

If anyone loved freedom, it was Luke. When he was about 4 years old we went to Florida, on one of those free vacations where we had to listen to a sales pitch for a timeshare. This was a timeshare for a campground site. Luke was a cute little, dark tanned boy, with dark brown hair in a bowl cut, with big intuitive eyes. We all, as a family, had to go to the club house for the presentation. As the woman was giving her sales talk she told us that along with the camp site this facility had a boat launch, a swimming pool, a laundry center and many other amenities. So after a rather long sales pitch she asked if we had any questions. And Luke said...."And what ARE those other amenities?" The woman was so overcome with shock and surprise, that a four-year old asked such a question, she was speechless. And of course we were overcome with laughter at Luke's amazing understanding and his freedom of speech.

That night after the sales pitch was over we all went to the bay for the Independence Day Celebration. We sat there on the beach, overlooking the water, huddled up next to each other watching an absolutely beautiful display of fireworks. There was a warm breeze blowing across the bay carrying the sound of a band playing patriotic music. I found it so amazing that so many people were there, but there was a sort of reverence as the fireworks exploded in the sky and reflected on the water and as the breeze carried the music to our ears. I saw a group of soldiers in the distance stand up and salute as the songs were playing, I felt as if my heart would burst with pride as a tear ran down my face realizing why we had our freedom and how those soldiers were a shining example of the wonderful country that we lived in. My husband Robin began explaining to Luke and Emily about the soldiers and how they and many others just like them were the reason that we had the freedom to sit on that beach, to listen to the music, and to watch the fireworks. As Robin was talking, I could see the sparkle of fireworks reflected right there in my children's eyes as they were taking in all that their dad had to say. It was just one of those unforgettable moments in time.

Many years later I found myself sitting on a bench in a beautiful and reverent place. There in the distance was a tiny flag blowing in the wind. Again, I was thankful for my freedom and the freedom that my son had while he was here on this earth. The laughter that Luke brought to us was amazing, but now it had to last a lifetime. I stared at his name on that gravestone as I remembered his sparking eyes that night so long ago when his dad told him all about the soldiers and how they gave us freedom. Through my tears and my pain I was thankful for the simple freedom of being there among all those headstones while I remembered my son. My son wasn't a soldier, but he had died with freedom........ because of what a soldier gave.

2013 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife
I'd thank my lucky stars to be livin' here today
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away

And I'm proud to be an American where as least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the USA

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA
Well, there's pride in every American heart
And it's time to stand and say that

I'm proud to be an American where as least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the USA

~ Words & music by Lee Greenwood


I passed a soldier's grave today
And I kneeled and said a prayer.
I wondered if our country knew
How much this soldier cared.

I walked around the graveyard
Thinking of the sacrifice
Of those that gave us freedom
And in the battle lost their life.

How some had died so far away
While they served our country well,
How some of them died back at home
After surviving battle's hell.

In the distance I saw someone
Holding up a little flag,
Then they knelt and placed it
On the grave where I had prayed.

I heard them say "I love you",
Then they stood up straight and tall
And said "I'm proud to be the parent
Of a child that chanced it all."

I thought about this freedom
That can never be repaid,
And I thought about my only son
Not a soldier, but in a grave.

Although he died, I'm thankful,
And although his years were few,
While he lived upon this earth
It was "freedom" that he knew.

I possess this simple freedom
Just to walk amongst the graves,
And mourn the death of my own son,
Because of what a soldier gave.

2009 - Christine Ross
in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001

MAY 2010, Volume 25 No. 5
Bereavement Publications, Inc.


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

~ Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, 1862

Memorial Day, which at the time was called Decoration Day,
was first observed on May 30, 1868,
when flowers were placed on the graves of
Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.


In 1831, Captain William Driver,
a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts,
left on one of his many world voyages.
Friends presented him with a flag of 24 stars.
As the banner opened to the ocean breeze, he exclaimed, "Old Glory."
He kept his flag for many years, protecting it during the Civil War,
until it was flown over the Tennessee capital.
His "Old Glory" became a nickname for all American flags.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.

~Henry Ward Beecher

For love of country they accepted death...

~James A. Garfield

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

~Lee Greenwood

On thy grave the rain shall fall
from the eyes of a mighty nation!

~Thomas William Parsons

They fell, but o'er their glorious grave Floats free
the banner of the cause they died to save.

~Francis Marion Crawford

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.

~Minot J. Savage

They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast,
And their names are engraven on honor's bright crest.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And they who for their country die
shall fill an honored grave,
for glory lights the soldier's tomb,
and beauty weeps the brave.

~Joseph Drake

The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree.

~Thomas Campbell

Better than honor and glory, and History's iron pen,
Was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men.

~Richard Watson Gilder

A hero is someone who has given his or her life
to something bigger than oneself.

~Joseph Campbell

Who kept the faith and fought the fight;
The glory theirs, the duty ours.

~Wallace Bruce

Our battle-fields, safe in the keeping
Of Nature's kind, fostering care,
Are blooming, - our heroes are sleeping, -
And peace broods perennial there.

~John H. Jewett

These heroes are dead. They died for liberty - they died for us.
They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free,
under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines,
the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines.
They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds,
careless alike of sunshine or of storm,
each in the windowless Place of Rest.
Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace.
In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict,
they found the serenity of death.
I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead:
cheers for the living; tears for the dead.

~Robert G. Ingersoll

The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem.

~Aaron Kilbourn

Our cheer goes back to them, the valiant dead!
Laurels and roses on their graves to-day,
Lilies and laurels over them we lay,
And violets o'er each unforgotten head.

~Richard Hovey

But fame is theirs - and future days
On pillar'd brass shall tell their praise;
Shall tell - when cold neglect is dead -
"These for their country fought and bled."

~Philip Freneau

"Dead upon the field of glory,"
Hero fit for song and story.

~John Randolph Thompason

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers,
but to praise them.

~Francis A. Walker

Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak,
and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act?
Are they dead that yet move upon society
and inspire the people with nobler motives
and more heroic patriotism?

~Henry Ward Beecher

Forget me not

(no more names can be added)







Last Entry in Luke's Journal:

"When there is love in my heart and a smile on my face,
I need nothing else." ~ Luke Ross


Music playing:
God Bless The USA