November 16, 2005
Losing a loved one can be hard for anyone, but how about when a parent loses their son or daughter while fighting a war? This is the story of two parents from Charlottesville who's son was killed in Iraq last year.
Three-hundred sixty-two days, 23 hours, and several more minutes add up to what seems like an eternity. That's how long Betty and Bob Arms have been missing their son, Corporal Bradley Arms. This weekend marks one year since they got the devastating knock on the door. Though Bradley is gone, his spirit is here keeping his family strong.
"There have been a lot of blessings out of Brad's death, but there have been really hard days for both of us," said Betty Arms, the mother of Corporal Bradley Arms.
"It's very deep and very real. He was a like a lion on the inside, but very soft in his relationship with others," said Bob Arms, the father of Corporal Bradley Arms.
While five years old, Brad noticed his mom checking the mail after a hard day's work, and not finding any, Brad scribbled on paper, and stuck it into the mailbox.
"He found Mommy, and pulled on her and said, 'Mommy, you've got some mail,'" explained Bob Arms.
With memories like that so clear, their minds will not wander, not even for a split-second, away from Marine Corporal Bradley T. Arms. Another memory they'll never forget is the knock on the door.
"All of the imaginations of who was there had previously been stirred ever since Brad left for Iraq. There have been other knocks at the door, and we've jumped thinking, 'who is it,'" said Bob Arms.
This time, 6:35 p.m., November 19th, it was real. Corporal Bradley Arms had been killed.
"We're sorry to report that your son, Corporal Bradley Thomas Arms, has been killed in action serving your country," Bob Arms said narrating the military officials announcement.
Keeping mom and dad strong is their faith.
"For us, faith that Brad is with God, that he's in Heaven, and we will in fact, see him again," said Betty Arms.
In the recent year, Bob has gained a better understanding of Christ, and Betty has worked many hours with the Blue Star Families supporting others just like her.
While Brad has been gone a year, it's feels like many firsts are still to come, since Brad wasn't expected home until April 2005.
To Bob and Betty, this holiday season, will be the first without their son.
While many people will run errands this weekends, or perhaps take a weekend getaway to free their minds, Bob and Betty most certainly will not. They'll gather with family and friend's from Brad's platoon who all returned home in April for dinner, and private time.
Another thing keeping the Arms busy is working with the Bradley T. Arms Scholarship Fund at the Covenant School.