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The last stop: A resting place in Arlington
Tom Sileo's op-ed, The Unknown Soldiers: The Last Stop

Date published: 11/1/2012

ATLANTA

--Bob Bagosy will always remember the day his 19-year-old son, Tommy, told him he was joining the United States Marine Corps.

"I said, 'OK, let's talk about this,'" Bob, who was living in Delaware, recalled.

When Bob said he wanted to talk, he meant it. Not only would he drive down to Florida, where Tommy was living, but the father and son would also make two key stops during a subsequent drive up the East Coast. The first was South Carolina's Parris Island, where thousands of Marine recruits endure boot camp each year.

"I dropped him off and left for an hour," Bob said. "He got back in the car and said 'I can do this.'"

Before endorsing Tommy's decision, Bob had something else to show him.

"The second stop was Arlington National Cemetery, because I wanted him to see the other half of the military," Bob said.

After seeing the majestic white headstones that mark the hallowed resting spots of so many American heroes, Tommy turned to his father.

"If I die, I want to have the biggest tombstone available," the teenager said.

"Tommy, you won't get any bigger than Arlington," his dad replied.

In 2006, Sgt. Tommy Bagosy deployed to Iraq, where he helped find enemy improvised explosive devices outside the besieged city of Fallujah. It was a tough deployment.

"A best friend took his patrol one night," Bob said. "The guy hit an IED and died.

"Tommy blamed himself and said it should have been him."

During their first visit after Sgt. Bagosy's return, the Marine's parents realized why their son's wife, Katie, was insisting that Iraq's horrors had changed her husband.

"He turned to me in a restaurant and said 'You know, Dad, I killed people over there,'" Bob said.


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