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“It was an honor to be his father”

“It was an honor to be his father”

Sad news: the body found in the Euphrates River has been confirmed as one of the three missing soldiers: 20-year-old Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr.

His body was bullet-riddled and showed signs of possible torture. But former classmates, family members, and friends all agreed that he was doing exactly what he wanted to do.

Anzack, who graduated two years ago, should be honored for “his service to America and for representing South High and Torrance so proudly and so well,” Principal Scott McDowell told students in a second-period classroom announcement.

Outside, the front steps became a makeshift shrine of flowers, flags and balloons, marked with a sign reading: “You’re our HERO.”

… In Iraq, members of Anzack’s platoon choked back tears at news of his death and said they would not stop looking for the other two missing soldiers.

“We can’t leave them behind. I just hope that they have enough faith to keep them going. What they’re going through right now, I can’t imagine,” said Pfc. Sammy Rhodes, 25, of Albuquerque, N.M.

His family, obviously grieving, seems to be holding up surprisingly well. Rather than exploit their son’s death to further their own agendas, or blame it on President Bush, they are choosing to honor his choice and his sacrifice.

… late Wednesday afternoon, an Army representative turned up at the Anzack apartment on the second story of a stucco building in Torrance.

“The mourning started right then,” the soldier’s father told the Breeze in a telephone interview last night. “His sister, she can’t believe it. His mom, she’s doing OK,” he added.

Anzack said his immediate family and several extended family members held a vigil inside the apartment, along with an Army chaplain.

“We said a prayer for the other two boys, then sat around and talked about Joseph,” he told the Breeze, “just sharing the love of my son and why we all loved him.”

“I’m not really sure where I’m going to go from here,” Anzack told the Breeze. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do tomorrow. But I have to keep living. I have to keep my family strong.”

“I was honored to have him serve this country,” Joseph Anzack Sr. told the Breeze. “I know he went over there and made a difference… It was an honor to be his father.”

Take a moment away from your barbecues and parties this Memorial Day Weekend to remember not only this fallen soldier — this hero — but his family as well, who (to me) are just as heroic as he is. This country needs more people like them.

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell…

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