Cpl. Jose “Freddy” Velez served in Iraq while his brother, Spc. Andrew Velez was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. They both died in their early 20s and they are survived by their sister, Monica.
“My mom left us when I was 7, so my dad was a single parent,” Monica says. She did all the household chores. She’s the one who taught her brothers how first ride their bike and she got the boys dressed up for school. She’s the one who taught them to read and write, according to Monica.
Freddy, 23, was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. Andrew was asked to escort Freddy’s body back to the U.S. Two years later, Andrew committed suicide in Afghanistan. He was 22.
According to Monica, her brothers were like her soul mates. When their dad passed away, there was nobody else and that made her miss her brothers a lot. “I try to remind myself every day that I have to earn what I get to love each day. It’s a gift”, Monica says.
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