Marlin Sonnentag was just 20 years old when he went overseas to Libya.
"He was really a patriotic little guy and he was ever faithful," said Gloria Sonnentag.
His mother said while the Marine was stationed there in 1986, he was injured in a bombing. A blast that would eventually take his life just days later.
"It was really difficult, I mean it's like you're hollowed out all of a sudden, you've got a big part of your life is gone. It takes a long time, you never quite get over it," said Sonnentag.
Now, she's a Gold Star Mother. That's a title given to mothers who've lost a child during war.
"You realize the importance of the freedom of this country and it takes people like my son and their sons to do this," said Sonnentag.
She and other Gold Star Mothers are raising money to build a memorial in Rothschild. It's a project about five years in the making.
"Every one of these children up here, regardless of their age, had a mother, they had a family," said Sonnentag.
Her husband, Julian, said that's why they're so dedicated to the memorial.
"When you lose your only son, who was a good one, who made us proud, you think about that every day," said Julian Sonnentag.
And Gloria Sonnentag said she thinks about her son and his sacrifice all the time.
"You see the little niece or nephew that he's never going to see, but maybe he does, he might be looking down on us and seeing all of us, and that would be wonderful," said Sonnentag.
She said she'll never forget her son's compassion and his commitment to doing something good every day.
A Wausau family is turning their tragedy into hope for anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide.
A Northwoods native was blocks away from a deadly attack in Barcelona Thursday.
1908 Grand Avenue, Wausau, WI 54403
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