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'We're still there'

August 02, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

"We're still over there," said Capt. Brian T. Beckno, commander, 1-187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Beckno fears that people already are starting to forget about U.S. efforts in the war against terrorism.

Beckno has been back in the States since June.

The "we" he talks about is other American soldiers.

One of them, Daniel R. "Danny" Burger, 19, who grew up in Hagerstown, is "over there" in Afghanistan.

Burger enlisted - in peacetime - for a four-year tour last August. He had been accepted at Johnson & Wales University, the college-level culinary school, in South Carolina. Now his plans to attend culinary school have been postponed.

His parents, Donald and Betty Burger, went to Fort Campbell in Kentucky in March to see him before he went overseas. They had just gotten to their hotel room and Betty Burger had turned on the local news.

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There on the television screen was their boy, packed up and being loaded for transport, says his father, who works at The Herald-Mail.

It was a poignant moment. The Burgers weren't there in time to hug their boy before he left U.S. soil, but their son did them proud.

A TV reporter put a microphone in front of Danny Burger's face and asked him a question.

"We're prepared and ready to go," Danny Burger said.

Danny and Krista Burger were married last summer. He was in Afghanistan for his first wedding anniversary, his father said. Krista Burger has stayed in Kentucky to be close to other army wives and support at the base.

The Burgers have spoken on the telephone to their son and their daughter-in-law relays his messages.

Donald Burger says his son has changed.

"He appreciates things more. Doesn't take things for granted."

Donald Burger also wishes his son were home.

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