Christmas gift arrives after local soldier dies

Reporter: John Bachman

A young Army Ranger is killed in Iraq. His parents grieving and planning the funeral, but they received a special delivery Thursday night.

What Adam Synder leaves behind is a legacy of leadership all the way from Ft. Pierce's Lincoln Park Academy to West Point to Iraq. He also leaves behind a loving family trying to make sense of the 26 year old's death in combat.

"It said simple, 'Greeting, Merry Christmas,' and it was addressed to me. It made me cry," says Adam's mother, Fran Frazer.

And it will be the last Christmas gift she'll ever receive from her son, Adam. A silver cross tree ornament that arrived in the mail Thursday one day after she got the call no family member with a loved on the front lines wants to hear.

Adam had been injured, "With severe burns, and he was on his way to Germany. And the next morning when I called to check on his status, they had to tell me over the phone that he had died."

She says Adam and his family knew the dangers he faced while stationed north of Baghdad on his second tour of duty. But, she says, recent e-mails from the front lines seemed to indicate things were calming down.

But now, all the family has left of Adam are pictures and memories from the multi-dimensional military man with plans to try to make it big in Hollywood. "He had the lead role in the music man at Port St. Lucie High, and he wanted to take a shot at stardom."

And even though his mom says Adam had a strong sense of duty towards his country and his men, his mom says she lacks a true understanding of what Adam sacrificed his life for. "I'm angry that - if he had to die for our country - that it wasn't for a reason that I could put my finger on and say, 'You know, he died protecting us from...' I can't say that. I don't know what they are protecting us from... He's gone. There's nothing I can do to bring him back.

Adam was well known in Fort Pierce. His family has moved his funeral to Westside Baptist Church to accommodate the expected crowd.