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Fallen Ft. Carson soldier has Web following

DOTHAN, Ala. ” Sgt. Edmund “Eddie” Jeffers wrote a stark essay about what he experienced and felt serving in Iraq, and his article became instant inspiration for backers of the war on dozens of Internet sites where it was posted.

Jeffers, 23, of Daleville died in a non-combat accident in Iraq earlier this week, but his legacy will live on through his words.

He gained a following earlier this year after an essay he wrote, titled “Hope Rides Alone,” showed up on the Internet, where it was posted in at least one place by his father, Dave Jeffers of Navarre, Fla.

The young soldier wrote plainly about life in Iraq.

“I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid … because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there,” Jeffers wrote.

In the same piece ” which was mentioned on the Fox News show of conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly ” Jeffers took on those who criticize the war and President Bush, writing:

“Democrats and peace activists like to toss the word ‘quagmire’ around and compare this war to Vietnam. In a way they are right, this war is becoming like Vietnam. Not the actual war, but in the isolation of country and military. America is not a nation at war; they are a nation with its military at war.”

As word spread of Jeffers’ death, admirers filled Internet message boards and forums with words of sorrow and admiration.

“Please honor this young man and his undying love of his country. He deserves nothing short of a memorial in his honor, and we are working on one here,” wrote one person.

“Prayers for comfort for the family of this good and great man,” said a message on another forum.

Jeffers’ mother, Tina Kelly, called her son “a very eloquent speaker and writer.”

“He was my friend. I had him very young and grew up with him. He was an amazing child and an amazing young man …,” she told The Dothan Eagle in a story published Friday.

Jeffers graduated from Daleville High School, located in southeast Alabama, in 2002. He and his wife Stephanie most recently lived in Colorado Springs.

The Pentagon said Jeffers died in Taqqadum, Iraq, from injuries he suffered in an accident that wasn’t related to combat. He was part of the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo.

The military didn’t release details on the accident, which it said was under investigation.


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