When a Gold Star mother in Texas graduated from college on Friday, she achieved a goal for herself and her late son who was killed in action.
Phyllis McGeath earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Texas-Arlington, WFAA reported. On graduation day, the 50-year-old mother adorned her graduation cap with gold stars, stars and stripes, and the words “Because of the brave I walk the stage.”
Those words honored the memory of her son, Marine Cpl. Philip McGeath, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on Jan. 18, 2012. He died 10 days before his deployment was to end.
Philip was planning to come home and finish his final year of college, McGeath told WFAA. She also had taken some college courses years before, but never earned her degree. So she decided to finish college for herself — and her son.
“I wanted to finish for Philip and finish for myself,” she told WFAA. “And in my time going to school I found what I was good at.”
When McGeath took her last test, the emotions swelled.
“When I walked out of class on Monday and finished my final I got in my car and started to cry,” she told WFAA.
She said she told Philip, “We did it.”
McGeath said she will continue her education and become a counselor for people who have experienced tragedy. In the fall she will return to Texas-Arlington to pursue a master’s degree in social work.
“If Philip had to go, this is what he would have wanted,” McGeath told WFAA. “He would have wanted me to go out and help someone else.”
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