Southern Illinois Parents Support Two Sons In The War




Southern Illinois Parents Support Two Sons In The War
By:  Amy Jacquin

(Anna-Jonesboro, IL)--Military parents with kids on the front line share a sense of pride and trepidation.  One set of  Southern Illinois parents is struggling to stay calm when they think of their two sons seeing action right now.

31-year-old Sean Cox is a Sgt in the Marine Corp. He's been gone since January, and his mission prevents him from contacting anyone back home. He has a wife and two children waiting for him in California.

23-year-old Jason Cox is a Corp with the 101st Airborne Division. He's divorced, but leaves his child behind in Illinois.  Jason has emailed regularly since leaving in February, and actually called home Thursday morning and Thursday evening.  That phone call was made possible by a CBS reporter, who let the entire platoon use his cell phone.

"It meant everything!" says his father, Pat Cox of Anna. 

Pat is an army veteran himself. He admires his sons... including his middle son David, who used to be a Marine but now lives in England with his family.

And Pat says his youngest was eager to deploy for duty in Iraq.  "He wanted to be with his brother," is the answer Pat gives.

"It's awesome," says Kathy Cox, their mother who lives in Goreville.  "Jason couldn't wait to look-up his brother.  They have a friendly competition.  And there's something about the Army quarters being nicer than the marines."

Kathy keeps letters from each son close-by. And she's riveted to news coverage of the war... despite the fact it's often scary to watch.

"Nobody forces me," she says.  "I want to know what's going on. I hope to see my son!"

"I keep looking for my sons" echoes Pat.  When they do talk to the boys... it's about family, not the war.  All calls and correspondence is monitored.  But the boys always seem upbeat.

"It's always, 'How are you, Dad?'" says Pat, struggling to hold back tears.  "It's not his style to complain.  But the  hardest thing with my oldest son, Sean in the Marines, is that after he left, his daughter was born. He hasn't even seen her yet.  That's hard."

Their young children are told simply, "Daddy's at work."

"Tell the babies that Daddy's with Uncle Sean, working to make the world a better place," Kathy reads from one letter.

Both parents say it's comforting to know how confident their boys are in their abilities, and that they believe in their mission.

"Don't worry, we're doing the right thing over here," she reads from another letter. "He's surrounded by good marines.  And he says he plans to bring all 32 of them back home, and walk off the plane."

The boys hope to be home soon... And until then, Pat stresses the need for patriotism.

"We've all got to support our troops," he emphasizes.