He Was Killed in Afghanistan. A Year Later His 6-Year-Old Son Gets 1 Million People to Honor Him.

Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore

Six-year-old Darren Baysore wanted to honor his father on the one-year anniversary of his death. More than 1 million pictures later, he succeeded.

Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore

On Sept. 26, 2013, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Baysore Jr. was killed in Afghanistan. But before his deployment, he looked up at the stars and told Darren, “I love you to the moon and back.”

Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore

It was those words that guided Darren on lonely days during his father’s deployment, and the light of the moon that’s kept him connected since his death.

It’s also the inspiration for Darren’s plan to remember his father. On Sept. 26, Darren and his mom, Jamie, told everyone they knew to switch on their porch lights that night to “shine love for Darren’s daddy.” The ask grew to a Facebook page, Shining Love to Daddy Baysore, and the special remembrance quickly went viral. Between the Facebook page, emails and other websites that helped share the story, NBC’s “Today” show reported the family received more than 1,000,020 photos of porch lights.

Even celebrity Justin Timberlake shined his light for Darren.

‘Darren, The Tennessee Kids, our #JT2020Tour crew and I are leaving our porchlight on in Brisbane, Australia tonight for your Dad as you are his light. Keep shining.’ –Justin Timberlake Official Facebook Page (Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore)

The porch photos from across the nation shined light on what could have been a dark day for a grieving little boy. But Jamie said the response “restored” Darren’s faith:

“He’s praying again, which is huge. And he’s laughing again. When I heard it, I thought, ‘There’s the laugh we didn’t hear all this time. That’s what I wanted back.’”

Here are some of the pictures and messages Americans sent to Darren:

‘Darren, we are honored to be #shiningloveforDaddyBaysore. Shined all night. I know your daddy is proud.’ (Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore)

‘This bag burned Friday night late into the early morning hours.’ (Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore)

‘Light shined all night here in Ventura, CA . . . I’m sure Daddy Baysore felt the love!!!’ (Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore)

‘Thinking and praying for you and your family from Texas tonight!’ (Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore)

My family sends all their love son. Your daddy was a hero and forever will be. He will not be forgotten. Forever and for always. (Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore)

‘Darren: God Bless you and the memory of your Daddy. From Myrtle Beach, SC.’ (Photo: Shining Love to Daddy Baysore)

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