Friday, December 28, 2012

Fallen soldier from Rocky Mount remembered

Swedish author dedicates book to Cpl. Jared Kubasak, who was killed in Iraq in 2005.

Darel and Daina Kubasak of Rocky Mount lost their son, Jared, in 2005, during his second deployment to Iraq with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Now, Jared's memory lives on in a written dedication in a book by Swedish author and historian Peter Englund.

Jared Kubasak met Englund in 2005 when Englund was embedded with Jared's unit.

"That's when he first met him," said Daina Kubasak of her son's encounter with the author. "I wish I knew more of their time together, but at this point, I don't."

Jared Kubasak, a 1999 graduate of Franklin County High School, joined the Army in May 2000.

"He loved the Army," said Daina. "He found a spot for himself."

After his first yearlong deployment to Iraq in 2003, Jared Kubasak re-enlisted and decided to change his military occupation specialty. He transferred to the 3rd ACR.

The new job was more dangerous.

"He wanted to make more of a difference," said Daina.

He was killed in December 2005, just six weeks before his deployment was to end.

After Jared's death, Englund wrote to the Kubasaks and included a framed picture of Jared that his photographer had taken. That sparked an email exchange between the Virginia couple and the author.

Fast-forward seven years later. This past June, a package from the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group arrived at the Kubasak home. In it was a copy of Englund's book, "The Beauty and Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War" with a note from the author. The book was dedicated to Jared Kubasak.

The dedication stated, "This book is dedicated to the memory of Corporal Jared W. Kubasak, whom I met in the fall of 2005 while embedded with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq, and who was killed there in action on December 12 the same year."

Through that dedication, Jared's memory lives on. "It helps us a lot," said Daina. "I just want him to be remembered. Then you think of all the people who might buy this book and read the dedication."

While Daina and Darel kept the book that was sent by Englund's publisher, they purchased another one and recently donated it to the Franklin County Public Library.

"I thought it was a good way to have a copy of it locally," said Daina. "We're in there [the library in Rocky Mount] a lot."

Daina Kubasak approached Sue McGuire, the library's circulation manager, about the donation. Library personnel created a display in the case at the checkout desk in November in honor of Veterans Day and in memory of Jared.

"They did a very nice job in recognition of Jared," said Daina.

The book has been described as "an intimate narrative history of World War I told through the stories of twenty men and women from around the globe - a powerful, illuminating, heart-rending picture of what the war was really like," according to Barnes & Noble's website.

While it's not known why Englund decided to dedicate the book to Jared, Daina Kubasak described her son as a career soldier and an avid reader.

"He loved to read," said Daina. "He read everything - anything and everything - all different kinds of stuff."

As for Englund, Daina said, "I'd love to meet him in person one day. We would like to know what all took place during the time that he was with Jared."

To find out more about "The Beauty and Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War" by Peter Englund, visit the Franklin County Public Library online at http://fclibweb.franklincountyva.org.

Library hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.