By Juli McDonald

WALTHAM (CBS) – This quiet Veterans Day moment, feels like so many moments in Bob Williams life.

“The flag waves overhead, and it’s parades and floats and a celebration in some ways,” he said. “But there are a lot of us that take it a little more somberly.”

His veterans live in his heart, on his mind every day. His father Robert, and Bob’s 24-year-old son Jake.

“He always made us laugh,” Bob said. “He just had a really good heart. Really, really, enjoyed his company.”

Jake and Bob Williams (Family photo)

It’s that company the father longs for every single day. Jake took his own life, while serving in the Navy last year.

“No one sends their child into the military expecting them to come home in a casket draped in a flag,” Williams said. “Jake was struggling with something that we didn’t know about.”

Now they’ll spend their lives, honoring Jake’s – by helping others.

“I wouldn’t wish what we went through on my worst enemy. It was awful. His mom and I are really trying to become more aware of the resources these kids need, the mental health resources,” Williams said.

And Bob says we all can help. He’ll never forget the first time his son heard ‘thank you’ from a stranger.

“The gentleman said, ‘son you’re a sailor. You made it.’ He stood up taller. He stuck out his chest. He said, ‘yeah I did.’ That’s what this service does for people. I’m grateful to that gentleman. He made my son feel really good that day.”

That kindness is free and can leave a lasting impression. To every veteran, we thank you.

Juli McDonald