LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4)– One mother in Lone Tree has a reminder this Memorial Day holiday weekend: never forget the meaning of the holiday.

Marine Cpl. Max W. Donahue was killed in action seven years ago. He would have turned 30 years old this year. His mother, Julie, thinks of the future he’ll never have.

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Marine Cpl. Max W. Donahue (credit: CBS)

“What would he have looked like, what would he be doing, what kind of uncle would he be to his nieces. That’s what we are all missing,” said Julie.

Max died in August 2010, two days after he was gravely wounded by an IED in Afghanistan. He was on patrol with K-9 Fenji.

Marine Cpl. Max W. Donahue with Fenji (credit: CBS)

In typical Max fashion, he had told his superiors that he wanted to be out front during the mission.

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“He said, ‘If anyone’s going to get hit, it’s going to be me and the dog.’ So we started thinking, ‘Doesn’t he love us?’ But then after meeting the guys, I see it’s a brotherhood. They really are,” said Julie.

CBS4’s Jim Benemann interviews Marine Cpl. Max W. Donahue’s mom Julie (credit: CBS)

Within a year of Max’s death, Julie, inspired by her strong faith, had written a book about the family’s loss titled “Missing Max.”

(credit: CBS)

“I felt like God was laying it on my heart. It got to the point where I said, ‘I’ll write but this is your book’ and my goodness what it’s shown me in terms of where it’s landed and what it’s done and the people I’ve heard from,” said Julie.

(credit: CBS)

Then last year, Julie wrote “Still Missing Max” about the goodness and generosity she’s encountered in people since losing their son.

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Now, this Marine mom has a message to those celebrating this Memorial Day weekend., “I would ask them to fly flags and when you do, have your kids there and say, ‘This is why we have today. It’s for this flag’ and maybe even visit a cemetery.”

(credit: CBS)