WALKER, Mo. – “I wanna thank all the veterans who risk all their lives not just for mine, but for the whole USA, and I wanna thank my dad Antonio Carlos Burnside,” said Angel Burnside, a 7th grader at Northeast Vernon County.
It’s a personal thank you from daughter to father in honor of Army Corporal Burnside who was killed in action when insurgents attacked his unit in Afghanistan.
“He died at the age of 31 and he had four kids. One of them is me,” said Burnside in a virtually recorded video for the school’s digital Veterans Day program.
Angel’s memories of her father come from the stories her mother shares. She was just a five-years-old when it happened, but even then her ties to her dad went deeper than most would understand. She says she knew the moment he was gone.
“Before the men can even come to my mom, I started crying, and my aunt called my mom saying, ‘Angel’s crying. Do you know why?’ And, I said, ‘My daddy died,’ and when they got there my mom was like ‘Oh, my little girl already told me.”
“The heartache of three men showing up at your doorstep is nothing you wish upon anybody. He had called two days before and said he needed to hear our voices one last time because he had a bad feeling that something bad was going to happen,” said Christie Lakey, Angel’s mom.
It’s been hard for Angel to grow up without her dad. She leans on her siblings and her mom when it feels overwhelming.
“On his birthday, his death day, she just says, ‘Keep him in your heart forever.”
That’s just what she intends to do. She’s proud of her classmates for stepping up to say thank you to the brave soldiers like her dad.
“I would like to thank veterans for allowing me to live a peaceful live,” said one student.
“I would like to thank veterans for keeping us safe,” said another.
Angel says she wants people to know that our soldiers are people just like us; they’re sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. They just happen to be heroes, too.
“Veterans are very, very brave for fighting for us and for our freedom,” concluded Angel.