As another school year ends and Americans celebrate a three day weekend, Memorial Day, for some, means a day off and barbecue.
But for hundreds of Gold Star families living in San Antonio, a city with the nation's largest active and retired military populations, this weekend is a time for heartfelt remembrance. The Scates family is one of them.
Raquel Scates' husband, William Daniel Scates, who went by Daniel, was killed in Iraq in August of 2007. His daughters, Jade and Kendra, were 9 years old and 7 months old respectively. He was 31 when he died, Scates was 32. The couple had been married just two weeks shy of 11 years.
With two children to take care of, the months and years after Daniel's death were filled with severe sadness.
"I feel like I was robbed out of the first year of (my daughter's) life from seven months on just because I had so much going on in my head," Scates said. "There were days, of course, where I didn't want to get out of bed, but I didn't have a choice. I had to take care of my girls."
The time following Daniel's death was a time of restructuring and growth, too. Scates' daughters gave her the strength to continue on and figure out who she was.
Daniel's spirit still lives on in the house, Scates said, and he is remembered every single day. A scrapbook made in his memory by his oldest daughter lays in her room, and a stack of photos of him and his daughters sits next to Scates' night stand.
This Memorial Day, the Scates family remembers their father and husband, one of the many fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price to protect the United States.
Top image: Raquel Scates and her daughter Kendra, 9, hold a photo of Daniel Scates, Raquel's husband and Kendra's father, who was killed in Iraq in 2007. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.