Veterans Day has an especially powerful meaning for parents whose children are stationed overseas, frequently in harm's way.
Krissy Frisbie's son Jonathan, a 2018 graduate of Monomoy High School, surprised the family on his 18th birthday.
"He joined the Marines!" she recalled. "It was a surprise and at first I was worried, but now I'm very proud that he has chosen to serve his country."
Jonathan, who was recently promoted to corporal, is a forward observer currently deployed to the Middle East. He deployed there in March and although he is stationed at a U.S. airbase in Kuwait, as a member of a rapid response team he can be called out "wherever there is a mission," Krissy said. "He can't tell me the details so he will say 'I have to go to another country,'" she added. "I ask him 'is it safe' and he answers 'kind of...'" A recent assignment took him to Saudi Arabia to meet with allied counterparts. "How many 20-year-olds can say they've had that experience!" she said.
The Frisbie family has found a lot of support through other parents of soldiers, including through Facebook groups and friends met at Jonathan's graduation from boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. "They are all going through the same thing," she said. "Other families get it."
The family sends him monthly care packages and is grateful for the ability to reach out and touch Jonathan on a regular basis. Years ago communication with service members meant letters and snail mail. "We are spoiled now with our phones and Facetime...it didn't use to be that way."
After two and a half years of service, Jonathan is "thriving and happy. He has never done better." And Krissy has a new perspective on military service.
"When I see a veteran now I thank them for their service. People forget...we wouldn't be where we are today without their sacrifice," she said.
Raul Frausto Sr.'s son and namesake Raul Frausto Jr., a 2017 graduate of Cape Cod Tech, was deployed to Afghanistan up until a year ago. Frausto Jr.'s unit, the Combat Engineer Clearance Company #264, was charged with sweeping crucial transportation routes to find and destroy any Individual Explosive Devices (IEDs) in order to ensure the route was safe for transport.
After graduation from Cape Cod Tech, Frausto enlisted in the Army in July 2017. By October 2018, he was deployed to Bagram Air Force Base, the largest military base in Afghanistan. He was a driver of a minesweeping vehicle, "patrolling roads and towns looking for suspicious signs," his father recalled. "In a way he was looking for trouble."
The uncertainty that his son may have felt was shared by the father. "He would call from time to time and I would say 'just send me a text with a smiley face so I know you're OK,'" Frausto Sr. said. "I would pray and think positive. I was anxious but I stayed positive and I believed in him." The elder Frausto was relieved when his son returned safely to Fort Bragg in July 2019.
When the younger Frausto's contract was up in October of this year, he transferred to the Army reserve as a sergeant. As a student at Cape Cod Tech he had studied welding, and with his Army experience and training he has been hired as a welder in Jacksonville, Fla.
His father has a deeper appreciation for veterans these days. He grew up in Mexico and learned discipline at a military style boarding school. Now a citizen of the U.S., although he did not serve in the military himself he loves history and is now especially aware of what this country owes to its veterans. Instead of being a day for shopping, he feels he is now much more aware of what the holiday means.
"It should be a day of tribute to people that have risked their lives for us to enjoy this democratic country," he said.