When I got home from church Sunday, I read in the Gainesville Sun that a memorial service had been held at the Chiefland, FL Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a soldier who had recently been killed by an IED in Afghanistan. The article said that Sgt. Karl A. Campbell had been stationed in Ft. Campbell, KY, the post where my son is currently stationed and awaiting his deployment to Afghanistan in 3 weeks.
Related story from USA Today:
(you can also look up records for other casualties in the link included in the above article; copy and paste into your browser window)
After a day or so of pondering this terrible thing, I decided to look up Sgt. Campbell’s mother’s phone number and give her a call. We had a pretty lengthy conversation on the phone. I heard a lot of things that were hard for me, hard to take in. Especially the part about the necessity for a closed casket service. Sgt. Campbell’s wife wanted to see him one last time, but that will be a no. Sgt. Campbell was 34. He has a wife and children who live on post very near my son and his family, but they didn’t know each other.
Audrey Campbell said that when she went to Delaware for the “Dignified Transport” –when the families go to the airport to meet the coffins when they are flown in–her heart went out to some other parents of a 19-year old soldier who had been killed. She said that at least her son had lived a full life.
Ms. Campbell said she recently went grocery shopping, and stopped to talk to a vet outside the store, who was selling poppies for the VA. She, wanting to make light conversation while searching in her purse for a dollar bill to offer, asked “How are you doing?” He said he was fine, but “I wish I got some respect…”