One Day In Iraq: A New Family's Life Cut Short

DE LEON, MARIO

Age 26. Sergeant, U.S. Army. 1st Battalion, 18th Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

Sniper fire, Baghdad

When Mario De Leon went home to the rolling hills of Petaluma, Calif., for the last time, dozens of well-wishers, firefighters and police officers lined the streets and stood on overpasses to see the black hearse go by. A group of teenage girls held a sign that read WE LOVE YOU. For De Leon's mother Barbara, the show of respect was in part a salve for an old wound. De Leon's father had served two tours in Vietnam. When he returned to...

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