BISMARCK, ND, USA U.S. Army SPC, HHB, DIVISION ARTILLERY, 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION, FORT HOOD, TX 76544 BAGHDAD, IRAQ 10/11/2004
Specialist Anthony ‘Tony’ Monroe, 21, of Bismarck, ND, was killed Sunday, October 11, 2004 while serving in Baghdad, he was serving with the 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas. He had been in the army since the fall of 2003 and had been in Iraq for several months. He was a vehicle mechanic. He was promoted posthumously to specialist, and was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Good Conduct medals.
Tony was the son of Bernadette Monroe and the late Jeffery Monroe, of Bismarck. He was a 2002 graduate of Bismarck high school. He had a younger sister and brother, Caitlin and Nicholas.
Tony was an easygoing soldier who joined the military to travel and get an education. But Tony was more than just a soldier, he was a son, a brother, a grandson and a friend. He was a heartfelt and artistic young man who wrote hundreds of poems and enjoyed listening to and making music. Tony loved to play his bass guitar. In his last letters home, he said that one of the only enjoyments he had was when he could listen to his music.
Anthony wore his heart on his sleeve. Friends will tell you that one of the things they remember most about Tony was his ability to break the tension and to make others laugh. His commander in Iraq echoed those thoughts in a call to Tony’s mother shortly after his death. He said that things were very tense around the base and that Monroe was one of the guys that could break the tension and keep the peace by using humor.
Tony was very thoughtful. He was the kind of kid that took in homeless friends. He was the kind of a kid that took his personal time to mentor grade school students when he was in middle school. Tony was a loyal coworker and friend. He always volunteered to work extra time at his job at the Pretzel Maker in the mall. When we would meet Tony at the airport on his leaves from the army there were always twice as many friends then family.
As many acquaintances can testify, Tony could be rather thrifty at times. He always seemed to have more money in his bank account then most of us. He was often reluctant to give family members a discount at the Pretzel Maker because he said “it would hurt the company’s sales stats”. After going on one of his first formal dates with a young lady his mother asked him “how did the date go last night”. Tony said fine mom, I bought her a great meal of steak and shrimp and all the trimmings. Mom said that was nice and then asked how his meal was. Tony said he wasn’t so hungry so he just ordered a coke for himself. With Tony, others always came first.
His sense of humor is what I will remember most about Tony. It’s been said that “joy in ones heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” I think Tony had a tight grip on life because he had a great sense of humor. I once said to him that I needed to lose some weight and get into shape. Tony replied “you look okay Steve, you know round is a shape”. In ninth grade he was struggling a bit with math and I was trying to help him learn to divide decimals. In a frustrating moment he looked at me and said “you know Steve five out of four people have trouble with fractions” . It took a moment to sink in, but it certainly broke the tension.
Anthony William Hamilton Monroe will always be remembered as a man with joy in his heart and laughter on his lips. He was wonderful son to his mother, a great brother, a thoughtful grandson, and an incredible friend.