Photos of her three boys Â Todd, Cory and Steve Â are all Char Brame has now that they are either in, or on their way to, Iraq. She prays that her son and two boys she raised will return safely. (Amy Lindblom/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).
By AMY LINDBLOM
As a Minnesota teenager protesting the Vietnam war, Char Brame never imagined she would have a child let alone three involved in war.
But Brame is now 46 with 30 more years' worth of life experiences behind her. And her son, Todd Beighley, and two boys she took in during their teenage years are in the U.S. Army.
Beighley, 22, an Apache helicopter mechanic, is in Ft. Polk, La., waiting to go to Iraq, probably within days.
The other two young men she considers sons Cory Hall, 25, and Steve Nye, 23 are already in the Middle East.
Hall, a communications specialist, was stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas, but Friday flew to Kuwait.
Nye is somewhere on the front lines with an infantry unit in Iraq. He is a radar specialist. Brame has had no contact with him in more than two months.
The Army won't allow soldiers to discuss details of deployment, so Brame has only a vague idea of where the two now are.
The Soulsbyville woman wanted to fly to Louisiana to visit Beighley before he shipped out, but that might not be possible now. On Friday, he and his unit left for a seaside port with their equipment.
"I just hope that Baghdad will already be taken when they get there," Brame said. "The POWs they showed on TV were just kids, and scared to death.
"It is hard not to visualize your own kids in that position."
Beighley is Brame's son from her first marriage. Nye lived with Brame and her son while both boys attended Sonora High School. She nurtured them both during their rough teenage years, even though she was a single mom working 60 hours a week, living in a small Jamestown house.
Hall spent so much time at her house during his high school years that she considered him another son, and all three boys considered themselves brothers.
"The rules were: They had to go to school, they had to be respectful and they had to get a part-time job," Brame said. "It was tough, but we made it and Cory was the big brother figure."