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THE UNKNOWN SOLDIERS
Courtesy of Carol Dycus
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ATLANTA--Friends of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Edward Dycus called him "Eddie." His family chose an even shorter, simpler nickname: "man."
As a young man working in a grocery store, Edward turned to his mother one day and said he wanted to serve his country.
"He thought about it and said he wanted to join the Marines," Carol Dycus told The Unknown Soldiers. "He wanted to make his life and my life better."
Edward knew trading the frozen food aisle in Greenville, Miss., for the heat of battle in Afghanistan was a risky proposition. But he never hesitated, even when his mom, who worked with him at the grocery store, responded with some initial skepticism.
"Yeah, I tried to talk him out of it," Edward's mother said. "That's what every parent does."
Despite fearing for his safety, Carol was enormously proud of her son.
"He came home from boot camp and said 'I did it, Mom, I'm a Marine now,'" she said. "He was just a good guy I loved him very much."
With blond hair and an infectious smile, Edward was enthusiastic and bright, having excelled academically from a young age. When he wasn't inside watching pro and college football, Edward enjoyed going outside to toss around the Frisbee with his friends and four siblings.
"He loved school, he loved his family, and he loved his friends," Carol said.
Whenever someone needed help, Edward would bend over backward to lend a hand.
"He was just a caring guy," his mother said. "He'd do anything for anybody and wouldn't think twice about it."
Edward's mom paused when our conversation shifted to her son's deployment to Afghanistan, which began on his 22nd birthday.
"It's hard to talk about it," she said. "It's hard."