My Navy veteran father died in the Parkland mass shooting | Column

My Navy veteran father died in the Parkland mass shooting | Column

I was a Marine, and making America safer from guns in the wrong hands is how you can honor all of us veterans on this Veterans Day. Thomas Hixon (in black) with his father, Chris Hixon (in white), are shown at Thomas’ commissioning ceremony at the University of South Florida in May 2014; Chris was Thomas’ first salute and pinned him as a second lieutenant. Chris was killed in the mass shooting in Parkland. Today marks the fourth Veterans Day since I transitioned from the active-duty Marine Corps to reserve status. It’s meant to be a day when Americans celebrate the service of living veterans like me, but I find the holiday to be bittersweet. This is also the fourth Veterans Day since the death of my father, a Navy veteran. We never got to celebrate this holiday together as veterans. That opportunity was taken from us by gun violence. My father, Chris Hixon, was the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. He was killed by a gunman during the mass shooting at the school in February 2018. I left active duty four months later. This October, I watched the monster who murdered my father and 16 others enter a guilty plea for his crimes. This set off yet another roller coaster of emotions for my family and our community. Through it all, I maintain focus by lending my time, energy and story to the fight to end gun violence. As a veteran, I am […]

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