Traci Wise’s husband died in Afghanistan on Jan. 15, 2012. Almost four months later, she caught her young son, Luke, sitting by a photo of his deceased dad. She posted a photo of the moment that recently went viral.
“Found my son sitting having a moment with his daddy the other day. We lost him Jan. 15 in Afghanistan. ... We cannot forget about the incredible loss these children must undertake,” Wise posted on Facebook. The photo has been shared more than 11,000 times and has received hundreds of comments on Reddit.
“I haven't lost my father, hell, haven't lost my grandfather. I can't begin to imagine the pain that accompanies loss like that. The only pain I feel is that this child, and many like him, will not get to have the experiences I did, and it hurts,” Redditor keebler337 posted.
The boy’s father, Sgt. First Class Benjamin B. Wise, was 34 years old when he died from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. Wise, who belonged to a Special Forces group, was on his fourth deployment when he died.
"It's something I've wanted to do for a while now," Wise told Hope Star newspaper in 2004. "I was in college, and I took a break from college and thought I'd do it now while I was relatively young. I wanted to serve my country and do something that I found exciting."
In the interview, Wise described the difficulties of serving overseas. "There are a lot of frustrating things about being over there, about being with people from another culture and the special circumstances,” he said. "But at the end of the day, it's a job, and we're specialists in the field. The troops are sent there to accomplish a mission."
The father of three from Little Rock, Ark., was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, blackfive.net reports.
Military service runs in Wise’s family. In 2009, his older brother, Jeremy, a former Navy SEAL, was killed while protecting a CIA outpost in Afghanistan. Wise’s younger brother, Matthew, served in the U.S. Marine Corps.