NOVA Alumna and National Guard Nurse, Major Angela Cronan, 113th Medical Group, D.C. Air National Guard, was at the D.C. Armory providing medical support to Guardsmen for many days leading up to Inauguration Day 2021. As this was her fifth time supporting the Inaugural events, she knew what she was doing. This year was different, however. This year, she was serving amid great personal loss, as her husband of 20 years, Chris, who supported her at each event, suddenly passed away just two months prior.
"He was always so proud of me and did everything to prepare me for this [Inauguration] day," said Cronan. "Then the unthinkable happened and my entire life completely shattered."
Cronan is navigating this tremendous loss with their two daughters, Abby and Ally.
After her husband's passing, her 113th Medical Group commander, Col. Michael Pollock, told her she was under no obligation to participate and it would be perfectly understandable if she were to bow out. However, Cronan didn't bow out. In fact, she decided that day she would not waste what she had built with Chris. In her mind, it was best to continue forward and to honor Chris' spirit and make her family proud.
"Her response to me was she wanted to participate and continue with her duties as the parade Officer-in-Charge and to give her daughters a show of strength. There is no task too big or small for her and it just amazed me what she was able to do under the circumstance," said Pollock.
As a former Marine, Cronan understood the value of commitment and knew that Chris, who retired from the 113th Wing as an avionics specialist with deployments to Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, would want her to stay the course. She was proud to represent the unit on behalf of Chris.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade element was cancelled. Undeterred, Cronan knew she still had a job to do. She was a nurse after all, and with thousands of troops deployed to D.C. and a pandemic raging all around, she made it her responsibility to ensure the health and welfare of many Soldiers and Airmen that historic day. She also felt Chris' presence and was sure he would be beside her in spirit.
"I was proud to serve alongside my fellow medical team on Inauguration Day. We did it, honey! We did it."
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