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Army Pfc. Angelo Zawaydeh, 19, San Bruno; Killed in Iraq

April 23, 2006|From the Associated Press

When Angelo Zawaydeh of San Bruno, Calif., first told his parents that he wanted to join the military, they refused.

Not only were they worried about the dangers of their teenage son going to war, but they also had concerns about Zawaydeh, whose father is Jordanian, participating in a Middle Eastern war.

When Zawaydeh first brought up the idea to his parents when he was 16, the answer was simple, said his mother, April Bradreau. But two years later, he made his own decision. When he joined the Army, she said, "we asked, 'Why didn't you go to college?' And he said, 'I can't sit in the classroom anymore. I need to get up and do something.' "

Zawaydeh, 19, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Ft. Campbell, Ky., and sent to Iraq in September.

On March 15, the private first class was manning a machine gun atop a tank at a Baghdad traffic control point when he was killed by a mortar shell that struck him in the neck.

Kevin Campos said his best friend, a graduate of Terra Nova High School in Pacifica, Calif., and others had vowed to enlist after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "We decided that America was worth fighting for," Campos said. "We thought if we're going to live in this country and raise our families here, we had to do something before we started our lives."

But Bradreau, who with her husband, Akram Zawaydeh, received the news of their son's death on the eve of their 21st wedding anniversary, said her son had grown disillusioned with the war over time. "He thought we could let them [the Iraqis] fight their own battles from now on over there," she said.

Bradreau remembered her son as a respectful young man who always was willing to lend a helping hand.

"He died like he lived," she said. "He gave his life for others."

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