A North Dakota Army Reserve soldier killed in Iraq with family ties in the Pine River area, will be remembered today as a "good kid," someone who went to Iraq because he believed he could do some good there.
Pvt. 1st Class Anthony Monroe, 21, Bismarck, N.D., was killed Oct. 10 while serving in southern Iraq. He was one of two soldiers killed and five soldiers wounded in a rocket attack.
Monroe was serving with the 1st Calvary Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas. He had been in the Army since the fall of 2002 and had been in Iraq for the past couple of months. He was a vehicle mechanic.
Monroe is the son of Bernadette Monroe, formerly of Backus and a Bismarck resident, and the late Jeffery Monroe. He was a 2002 graduate of Bismarck High School and has a younger sister, Caitlyn, and a brother, Nicholas.
Monroe is the grandson of Florence Hamilton, Pine River; the nephew of Jim and Debbie Hamilton, Hackensack, Carolyn and Bob Hamilton and Bill and Brenda Hamilton, all of Pine River; Lovette McAninch, Backus; Paul Hamilton, Backus; and a cousin and relative to many others in the Pine River area.
Carolyn Hamilton said her nephew spent a lot of time in the Pine River area.
"He was a good kid," said Hamilton. "He really enjoyed life. He was excited about going over to Iraq. He thought he could do some good. He'll be really missed."
"He was a clown," added his aunt, Debbie Hamilton. "He was your typical teeny-bopper. He liked to make you laugh. He was funny, a good kid."
U.S. dead in Iraq
As of Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004, at least 1,103 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 846 died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include three military civilians.
The AP count is 1 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 965 U.S. military members have died, according to AP's count. That includes at least 737 deaths resulting from hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
Debbie Hamilton said her sister-in-law just lost her husband in 1998 to cancer and her nephew's death is another devastating blow for the family. Monroe's grandmother, Florence Hamilton, sent her grandson care packages once or twice a week from Pine River to Iraq. She had purchased prepaid mailing envelopes to send letters and small comforts from home to her grandson. She recently returned to the Pine River Post Office to return the prepaid envelopes, telling them to give them to another family who needs them for their soldier.
"This is just awful. I just feel so bad for her," said Debbie Hamilton, of her sister-in-law. "It's like your mind doesn't even go there. It's too awful. I cannot imagine losing one of your children. I can't even go there."
Monroe had a large family and was close to many of his cousins, she said. Hamilton said she is angered by her nephew's death.
"It really frosts me," she said. "This is sad. To me, this is a senseless death, all the people who are dying over there. ... People are going through this every day all over. This is sad. I don't think he died for a good reason. He shouldn't be dead."
According to his obituary, Anthony "Tony" William Hamilton Monroe was born April 26, 1983, to Jeffery and Bernadette (Hamilton) Monroe. As an infant, he moved with his parents to Lakeland, Fla., where he attended kindergarten and first grade. The family moved to Bismarck where he attended school, graduating from Bismarck High School in May 2002.
Monroe worked at the Pretzel Maker kiosk at Kirkwood Plaza and job shadowed at KXMB-TV of Bismarck while attending school. He enjoyed photography and writing poetry, aspiring to be a photojournalist. He loved music and was a talented bass guitarist. In his spare time, Monroe was an avid billiards player.
Following in his father's footsteps, Monroe had enlisted after graduating from high school. He took his basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C. Because his father had been a member of the Air Force and remained in the North Dakota National Guard, Monroe followed his example. Monroe was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Bismarck.
Monroe's funeral is planned for 11 a.m. today at First Presbyterian Church in Bismarck. A private burial will be in the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan, N.D.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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