Gold Star Widow to Lay Wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier This Memorial Day

Suzanne Thompson, the widow of Staff Sergeant William Thompson, who tragically succumbed to toxic exposure during his service in Iraq, will perform the solemn duty of laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier this Memorial Day.

Staff Sergeant William Thompson devoted 23 years to the U.S. Army and the West Virginia Army National Guard, with two deployments to Iraq. While stationed at Camp Stryker within the Victory Complex, Thompson began experiencing frequent coughing, initially dismissed as allergies by military physicians.

Upon his return to Fort Stewart, Thompson was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia. A follow-up examination a week later revealed pulmonary fibrosis with nodules, his lung condition akin to that of an 80-year-old coal miner. After being admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, extensive testing, including an open lung biopsy, uncovered the presence of titanium, magnesium, iron, and silica in his lungs.

Thompson was ultimately diagnosed with Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Despite the severity of his condition, his illness did not meet the criteria for additional benefits as it was not classified as combat-related. Undeterred, Thompson became a fervent advocate for The PACT Act, legislation aimed at addressing the needs of veterans affected by toxic exposure.

He passed away in December 2021, leaving behind his wife, Suzanne, and their two children.

This Memorial Day, as Suzanne Thompson honors her late husband and all fallen soldiers, the call for continued support rings clear. Donations are encouraged to aid those affected by similar conditions and to support the families of the fallen.