Canoe trip honors fallen heroes

LAKE CITY, Minn. (KTTC) – Vietnam veteran Jim Crigler met his first Gold Star Family 45 years ago when a fellow pilot, and his good friend, lost his life.

“I had the honor, and the burden, of escorting his body back to his family, 45 years ago this month,” Crigler says.

Since the Vietnam was such a poorly seen war in the public eye, he says many of those Gold Star Families didn’t get the recognition they deserved.

“So for 45 years these families have had to live with that grief, kind of, alone,” Crigler says.

Now he’s preparing to set off on a canoe trip down the Mississippi River to make sure people know their struggles.

“I want to start a movement to get normal American citizens to look up a Gold Star Family in your community, and to get a 49 cent stamp and an envelope, and a piece of paper, and write them a thank you note,” Crigler says. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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