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Local Gold Star mother saddened by controversy over phone call to grieving widow

Virginia Waycaster said the week-long controversy is saddening to her. The situation has brought back painful memories for the Mills River woman whose son Sgt. Richard Lee Waycaster was killed in Vietnam. (Photo credit: Virginia Waycaster)

A Gold Star mother spoke out about what many said has become a politicized debate over a phone call from President Donald Trump to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger.

Virginia Waycaster said the weeklong controversy is saddening to her.

"They don't need to be back and forth on that," she said. "I don't like to read about it, because why are they bringing that all up?"

A Florida congresswoman overheard the conversation with Johnson's widow and said the president was disrespectful when he said, "He knew what he signed up for, but when it happens it hurts anyway."

The situation has brought back a flood of painful memories for the Mills River woman whose son, Sgt. Richard Lee Waycaster, was killed in Vietnam.

"It brings it all back," the 90-year-old said.

It's been 17,775 days since what seemed like yesterday -- Feb 19, 1969.

"Sgt. Waycaster covered the man's body with his own and was mortally wounded," she said, reading a letter she received from the government after her son's death.

He died at age 21.

"Pretty rough. Pretty rough. I laid in bed pretty much the whole day," she recalled.

She said families who lost loved ones shouldn't be caught in the middle of political controversies.

"That bothers me," she said.

Simply talking about what's happening reminds her of the loss that will always linger, and the son who's her hero.

"A fine young man, a Christian man," she said.

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