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Local Soldier Mourns Fallen Brothers

STAMFORD, Conn. — We all have read the headlines and seen the images of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We shake our heads as another young person’s life ends before it had much of a chance to begin, and then we go on with life. However, for those stationed overseas, including Stamford’s Yassin Ali , it is something that lasts much longer than just a moment.

“It's always upsetting when you hear about soldiers' dying, but to have been here with them and gone through this with them, it feels more like losing my own brothers,” Ali said in a Facebook message.

The brothers Ali referred to were Spec. Robert P. Hartwick, 20, of Rockbridge, Ohio; Spec. Emilio J. Campo Jr., 20, of Madelia, Minn.; Spec. Christopher B. Fishbeck, 24, of Victorville, Calif.; Spec. Michael B. Cook Jr., 27, of Middletown, Ohio; and Pvt. First Class Michael C. Olivieri, of Homer Glen, Ill., who were killed in a rocket attack at their base in eastern Baghdad on Monday, June 6.

“I'm heartbroken to lose such good friends. We were all family over here. This really hasn't set in fully, it feels like I'm in a nightmare and I'm just waiting to wake up,” Ali said of the loss of his comrades.

Since the attack, the base has worked to increase its defense to limit damage in any future attacks, Ali said. He also said he wants to bring the people responsible for his friends’ deaths to justice and that he feels lucky to be alive.

The deaths of the five soldiers were the largest single-day total in about two years, ABC reports . The report also says the total number of American lives lost in Iraq to just less than 4,500.

What do you do to deal with the deaths of close friends and family? Share your past experiences below or send them to reporter Anthony Buzzeo at tbuzzeo@mainstreetconnect.us .

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