When Charles got the news that he was heading to Iraq, Dana says they discussed the possibility that he might not return. "He was going to a war zone," she says. "The year before he left, we were preparing for life and death."

The journal ensured that no matter what happened, Charles would live on in spirit. "When I read this journal, it feels to me like he's still alive," Dana says. "I can feel where he pressed the pen down. I hear his voice when I read it. So he's still with us."

Charles also wrote a note for Dana in the journal. "This is the letter that every soldier should write," he said. "I want to thank you for our son. ... I'd like to see him grow up to be a man, but only God knows what the future holds."


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