More than a dozen Patriot Guard Riders, American flags at their sides, lined the sidewalk Monday morning at the entrance of the Bay Pines VA Hospital.
They greeted all veterans arriving – but they were there for someone specific, Ray Smith, a Vietnam veteran and father of Sean Patrick Smith.
Sean Smith was one of the three men killed along with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in the Benghazi raid. Sean Smith served in the Air Force six years and then spent 10 years as a computer expert with the State Department.
Ray Smith’s ex-wife was officially notified of their son’s death, but the father learned about it while watching television as the four coffins were returned from Libya.
Ray Smith was a Marine who served as a “tunnel rat” during Vietnam. So, the lack of protection for the diplomatic staff made him angry and he blames President Obama.
“Blood’s on his hands just like the ones that murdered my son,” Ray Smith told reporters Monday. “My son wasn’t shot in combat, he was murdered and there’s a difference. And he gave his life trying to help the ambassador. He should be given a Medal of Honor.”
Smith turned to Congressman Bill Young for answers. Young said he’s attended all the classified briefings on the Benghazi raid and he’s been told the same thing over and over – “it’s under investigation.”
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take to investigate, but the people of America basically are demanding answers, my constituents are demanding of me that I get the answers,” Young said.
Young has been trying to get answers for Smith and also help him deal with his grief.
The congressman asked Bay Pines VA Hospital, where Ray Smith receives treatment for his wounds suffered during Vietnam, to help honor Smith’s son.
On Monday, a fourth floor counseling room where families meet with chaplains and physicians to discuss difficult medical decisions was dedicated in Sean Patrick Smith’s honor.
A parchment copy of the congressional proclamation recognizing Smith’s sacrifice and his photo are neatly framed and hangs in the room.
When it was unveiled, Ray Smith went over, hugged the picture frame, then took a step back and saluted his son.