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Mother Whose Son Died In Iraq Misinformed About Memorial Service Trip

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Ann Edmundson
WILSON, N.C. — One month after her son was killed in Iraq, a Wilson woman is struggling with what she says is another difficult situation.

Ann Edmundson, whose son, Spc. Phillip Edmundson, 22, was killed when an explosive went off near his vehicle during combat in Ramadi on June 1, said a casualty assistance officer told her that all expenses would be paid for the trip to her son's memorial service in Fort Carson, Colo., where Spc. Edmundson was based.

"He said the Red Cross would pay for everything for everybody; they would fly us out there, we'd get an Army escort," Edmundson said.

But when she called the local American Red Cross office in Wilson to make arrangements, they told her she had been misinformed.

Edmundson said they asked her a list of questions, including how much money she and her husband made each month and how much death benefit she got from the Army.

A Red Cross spokeswoman said it pays for some military families to travel to memorial services if they cannot afford it, but it is based on financial need. The Edmundsons did not qualify.

"It's not my fault that I maybe make more money than another soldier's parents, but they're going out to Colorado for free," Edmundson said. "Phillip is just as dead, and he served his country, too."

Lt. Chad Young, who contacted the Edmundsons, said he thought all families got one free trip.

"I was a little surprised (they got denied)," Young said. "They've said no to people who have already used it before, but as far as funding, no, it's the first time I've heard that."

Edmundson said she is frustrated by all the confusion and has not decided if she and her husband will attend.

According to the Red Cross, very few families who have lost loved ones in Iraq have requested these funds.


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