Widow accidentally sells case of soldier mementos

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The things they carried away ...  A woman in Jacksonville, N.C., is frantically searching the state for a suitcase containing  mementos of her husband, a U.S. Army sergeant killed in Iraq, after she accidentally sold the bag in a yard sale.

The widow, Lindsay Whitehouse, 27, told the Jacksonville Daily News that she sold the suitcase during an Aug. 6 moving sale on her lawn, and quickly realized her mistake.

The bag was full of photos, awards and memorial items commemorating her late husband, U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Whitehouse, who was killed Nov. 2, 2006, during a combat mission in Al Anbar province. Witehouse's battalion was based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. He originally hailed from Arizona.

Lindsay Whitehouse has been hunting for the bag ever since. The couple who purchased the Ricardo brand suitcase were Latino, she recalls, and were driving a dark red truck, possibly a Dodge. She recalls that the pair said they were from Mount Olive, N.C., and that they hoped to resell the bag at a flea market.

Since then, Whitehouse has been scouring the flea markets of Mount Olive, population 4,500, apparently to no avail.

The couple had two young children together.

"I can take pictures of my kids again, but not with their dad," she told the paper. "It's one of those things."

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--Richard Fausset in Atlanta

Photo: Flags are but one symbol of U.S. troops; others are smaller, more personal. In this case, the mementos commemorating U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Whitehouse had been stored in a suitcase -- and were accidentally sold at a yard sale. Here, a flag in Alabama. Credit: AP /The (Troy) Messenger, Thomas Graning

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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