Soldier killed in Iraq leaves journal for his newborn son

First Sergeant Charles King was due to return home in four weeks when he was killed by an IED. He left his newborn son a 200 page journal of advice and answers in case he didn't make it back alive. His fiance Dana Canedy, a NY Times editor, writes the story and narrates the Audio and Photo portion.

From Father to Son, Last Words to Live By

Audio and Photos on the left under Multimedia.


He drew pictures of himself with angel wings. He left a set of his dog tags on a nightstand in my Manhattan apartment. He bought a tiny blue sweat suit for our baby to wear home from the hospital.
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Dana Canedy

One of the drawings First Sgt. Charles Monroe King left for his son in a journal. Then he began to write what would become a 200-page journal for our son, in case he did not make it back from the desert in Iraq.

For months before my fiancé, First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, kissed my swollen stomach and said goodbye, he had been preparing for the beginning of the life we had created and for the end of his own. He boarded a plane in December 2005 with two missions, really — to lead his young soldiers in combat and to prepare our boy for a life without him.

Dear son, Charles wrote on the last page of the journal, “I hope this book is somewhat helpful to you. Please forgive me for the poor handwriting and grammar. I tried to finish this book before I was deployed to Iraq. It has to be something special to you. I’ve been writing it in the states, Kuwait and Iraq.

The journal will have to speak for Charles now. He was killed Oct. 14 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his armored vehicle in Baghdad. Charles, 48, had been assigned to the Army’s First Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, Fourth Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Tex. He was a month from completing his tour of duty.


War Hero
Absolutely heartbreaking, but what a wonderful legacy.


War Hero
Agreed EPB, tragic yet so heart warming.
ExPadBrat said:
Absolutely heartbreaking, but what a wonderful legacy.

Agreed. I've just cried my first tears of 2007, sad that Jordan will never meet his father but will know him through his own words.
Very moving, one very thoughtful guy who has left behind what will undoubtedly be a very proud "Father's Son" when he is older...

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