San Diego (KUSI) — Carryn Owens, the widow of navy seal, Ryan Owens, was brought to tears as members of congress stood in honor of her husband's heroism and sacrifice.
Her grief is a feeling all too familiar for 70-year old Sandra Luhnow .
"Every time there's a loss I know what that woman or that man is going to go through, been there done that, but it doesn't make it any easier to watch someone else and you never forget, I will never forget that knock at my door." Luhnow said.
It was 1967, Sandra’s husband glen was killed in Vietnam just 6 weeks after he arrived. Sandra was three months pregnant. "It'll be 50 years on October 14th. I remember the day. I will never ever forget it, I will never forget him."
In 1970 Sandra Luhnow and another Vietnam widow started the San Diego chapter of Gold Star Wives, a service organization dedicated to the needs and welfare of military survivors.
Sandra says during Vietnam, military families were treated unfairly and it wasn't until after 9/11 that Americans really started to support our veterans.
"That is also when congress tried to make an effort to make life easier for widows and children left behind." Luhnow said.
But she says there is still a lot of work to do to address the ongoing plight of Gold Star Wives, especially Vietnam widows.
Next month, Gold Star Wives from around the country are meeting in Washington D.C. to testify before the joint house and senate veterans' affairs committees. They're asking for congress to pass current legislation increasing compensation, educational benefits, and medical care for Gold Star Wives.
"Value our veterans, but also value those who they leave behind because that is what the veteran thinks about when they go, that we'll be taken care of."