Austinite Sgt. Henry Ybarra III always knew that he wanted to be a solider, like his father. He got his chance to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"My dad would come home and undress, and my brother would run over there and put the boots on and put the shirt and the cap on and march and play military," says Michael Ybarra, Sgt. Ybarra's brother.
Ybarra was proud to be serving his country and was excited about helping to take down Saddam Hussein's regime, according to family members. However, soon, tragedy struck the Ybarra family.
"I was on the bus coming in and it just happened to be September the 11th , and the bus was going to pull over to pause for a few moments of silence to honor the dead, and right before that is when I received a call on my cell phone," says Sgt. Ybarra's father Henry Ybarra, Jr.
"I remember the look in my mom's eyes when I knocked on the door," says Michael Ybarra. "She opened the door, and she knew something was wrong. Right away, she started backing up. She was like 'no no, you're not going to tell me what I think you're going to tell me.' Ithought I could hold it back and tell her 'mom, yes, it's true,' but I broke down and I fell and I told her 'Henry's dead.'"
"I feel like he went ahead of us," says Henry Ybarra, Jr. "That's the kind of person he was -- That he went ahead of us to prepare a place for us, and we'll eventually all be together."
Produced by Elena Ramirez.
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