Honoring local heroes: A Mid-Michigan mother remembers her son this Memorial Day

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Okemos, Mich. (WLNS)– As people across the country remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, others remember their own children and loved ones who have died in the line of duty.

“Even if you take one minute, one minute out of a day that comes once a year to just be thankful for what they have done… it’s because of them that we have the freedoms that we have,” Jami Edgecomb said.

The mother of two lost her son, Nyle Yates III, on March 16, 2006.

“He was just the best. I mean, everybody says that about their children. He was full of God’s grace. He made you laugh, he made you smile, he just made you feel good. He loved… he just loved to live,” Edgecomb said.

Nyle Yates III was on his second tour in Iraq when he was killed in the line of duty on March 16th, 2006

Yates joined the army right after graduation and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was part of the 101st Airborne Division. During his second tour in Iraq, Edgecomb got a call.

“The person on the other end said ‘Hi, can I speak to Don,’ my husband, and I immediately, immediately knew.”

Edgecomb said she will never forget that moment. Her son had been home just two months prior for a mid-tour leave.

“His 22nd birthday we got to celebrate with him,” Edgecomb said.

Now, she celebrates what he and others have done for this county and she hopes everyone else will do the same. But it’s not just Memorial Day that’s taken on a new meaning. She now looks at life through a different lens.

“Now if something happens I’m like well it doesn’t matter because the worst thing that could possibly happen to us… it already has, so everything else is nothing. Even you know, the COVID-19, everything that’s going on… we’ll get through it,” Edgecomb said.

For now she finds comfort in knowing her son made an impact, but more than that she knows his death isn’t a goodbye.

“He just… he’s so missed. Sometimes I’m at a loss for words how much we miss him but… I’ll see him again.”

Her message to others is this: “Teach your children what Memorial Day is about so they can teach their children.”

Nyle Yates III was laid to rest at Glendale Cemetery in Okemos, MI

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