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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As hundreds gathered Monday at Wilmington National Cemetery to pay their respects to our fallen servicemen and women, one woman dressed in all white stood out.

Iris Winters attended the service not only to honor the lives that were lost defending our freedoms, but to honor her son’s memory. She is a blue star and gold star mother meaning she has a son serving our country and one who has died serving our county.

Bruce Winters was a helicopter pilot for the US Navy. He was killed at age twenty-six, after his helicopter crashed in the United Arab Emirates. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

“I knew when he crashed. I woke up and he was on the other side of the world, I just knew” she said.

Winters said it took her seven years to be at peace with Bruce’s death.

“It’s very hard for me,” Winters said as she choked back tears.

The mother of five says being part of the Gold Star Mothers and serving others through the organization has aided her healing process.

“The Gold Star Mothers, we don’t look inside anymore. But yes, we hurt, yes we miss our boys,” Winters said.

Instead of looking on the inside, she says the Gold Star Mothers look to the outside. Although she is looking outward and helping other mothers through the process of losing a child, forgiveness and love get her through her difficult days.

“Some days are better than others and you just go on with life until one day it all comes flooding back,” she said. “You miss your kid; you miss your kid badly.”

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