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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Taking away my brother

From the Emory Wheel student newspaper:

I found out that my brother, Sgt. Ryan M. Campbell, was dead during a graduate seminar on April 29.

Immediately after a uniformed officer knocked at my mother's door to deliver the message that broke her heart, she called me on my cellphone. She could say nothing but, "He's gone." I could say nothing but, "No." Over and over again we chanted this refrain to each other over the phone as I made my way across the country to hold her as she wept.

I had made the very same trip in February, cutting classes to spend my brother's two weeks' leave from Baghdad with him. Little did I know then that the next time I'd see him would be at Arlington National Cemetery.

During those days in February, my brother shared with me his fear, his disillusionment and his anger. "We had all been led to believe that Iraq posed a serious threat to America as well as its surrounding nations," he said. "We invaded expecting to find weapons of mass destruction and a much more prepared and well-trained Republican Guard waiting for us. It is now a year later, and alas, no weapons of mass destruction or any other real threat, for that matter."

Ryan was scheduled to complete his one-year assignment to Iraq on April 25. But on April 11, he e-mailed me to let me know not to expect him in Atlanta for a May visit, because his tour of duty had been involuntarily extended. "Just do me one big favor, OK?" he wrote. "Don't vote for Bush. No. Just don't do it. I would not be happy with you."

-by Brooke Campbell, story continued here.


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