Hospital honors man killed in Benghazi who was Bay area man's son

6:11 PM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
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  • On Dec. 10, Bay Pines VA Hospital named a counseling room after Sean Smith and veiled a plaque with his name, photo and an entry into the Congressional record as well.
  • With his eyes tearing up, Ray whispered the words 'welcome home', then hugged the framed picture of his son.
  • Ray Smith, father of Sean Smith, speaks with reporters about the lack of answers he has received from the White House concerning his son's death.
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- A Gulfport man, whose son was one of four Americans killed at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, got to see a memorial unveiled in his son's honor today.

Ray Smith entered Bay Pines VA Hospital and was greeted by a long line of veterans who thanked the former U.S. Marine for his service, and his son's sacrifice.

"I wouldn't miss it. He's one of ours. His son was one of ours," said Binnie Dryer, part of a veterans group that came out to honor Smith and his son.

Sean Smith, 34, was one of the four Americans killed Sept. 11 in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.

Ray Smith, a disabled former Marine who served Vietnam, turned 64 today. They sang "Happy Birthday" to him. His wish? To find out what happened to his son.

Estranged from Sean for many years, Ray Smith only found out about his son's death when Sean's photo was flashed on the TV screen.

"My son was a hero. He gave his life. He gave his life," said Ray Smith. "He should be decorated for what he did."

Since Sean's death, Ray, who lives in Gulfport, has gotten support from Congressman Bill Young. And now, Bay Pines VA Hospital, too.

Today, Dec. 10, they named a counseling room after Sean, and unveiled a plaque with his name, photo, and an entry into the Congressional record as well.

"I wanted him home, but like I said, not like this," said Ray, looking at the plaque. "But at least it's something."

With his eyes tearing up, Ray whispered the words 'welcome home', then hugged the framed picture of his son.

He took a step back - paused - and saluted.

Smith seized on the opportunity to again, demand answers and accountability about what went wrong in Benghazi. And why his son's calls for help, he says, went unanswered.

"I want these people brought to justice. The president was contacted. He didn't do anything," said Smith.

"We keep asking the questions, and the members of the House and Senate continue to press for answers," said U.S. Representative Bill Young, (R) Florida.

In the meantime, until those answers and details are learned - and well after - Ray says he'll proudly and often visit the 4th floor room that bares his son's name and say a prayer for Sean.

"And anyone that would love to come see it with me - are more than welcome. I'd be honored," says Ray.

Congressman Young says they continue to push for details and answers about what happened in Benghazi on Ray's behalf, but so far, answers have been slow in coming - if at all.

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