Last updated: August 23. 2013 1:01PM - 236 Views

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   LEIPSIC — The realities of war still ring true in a dead soldier’s words.    Tony Wobler still thinks about those words all the time. He lost his 24-year-old son, Army Staff Sgt. Zachary Ryan Wobler, during a firefight in Mosul, Iraq, on Feb. 6. Nine months later, he recalled some of his son’s wisdom during a Veterans Day assembly at Leipsic High School.    “In a letter he wrote, he said, ‘Dad, I’m not the same young boy I was when I left there. I’m hardened. Things have changed. I hope I can find forgiveness from God for the things we’ve done that we’re not real proud of.’”    The 52-year-old father still knows his son, a squad leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, died doing what he thought was right.    “He said sometimes we have to take a life,” Tony Wobler told the crowd. “He said it’s a terrible thing to have to look down a rifle scope into a man’s eyes, knowing you’re going to have to take his life. That happened on a regular basis there.”    Tony Wobler said that added another dimension to his son. As a high school student at Ottawa-Glandorf, his father said Zach was an adventurous, charismatic and ornery young man. His time in the Army added the dimensions of alert yet troubled.    The reality of a soldier’s life is the sacrifice he makes, said Russ Wenzinger, a history teacher at Leipsic who introduced Tony Wobler.    “Tony comes in here having paid the ultimate price of sacrifice,” Wenzinger said. “He lost his son. He paid that price for others. We should all pay attention to his story.”    Tony Wobler said his son, who completed Army Ranger and Delta Force training, knew about that sacrifice. He knew why he was so willing to protect others in a foreign land.    He proved it when the two saw a man with earrings in his nose and eyebrows.    “I said, ‘Zach, when you see someone like that, does it bother you after you’ve been in war for a year?’” Tony Wobler recalled.    Zach Wobler’s reply impressed him.    “He said, ‘You know, Dad, I fought over there for a year in Iraq, and I’ll probably go back. I fought for freedom. I fought so that person has the freedom to do what he wants to do. That doesn’t bother me,’” Tony Wobler recalled.    “That was really a great experience. I was very impressed he felt everyone had the right to be free.”    Tony Wobler urged students to answer their calling into the military services if it seemed important to them.    “There’s nothing wrong with a military career,” he said. “Even though I lost my son, I’d say anyone who wants a nice career with a professionally run organization should go for it. They treat people well there. It’s a noble profession.”

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