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Petraeus to HLN: Dying soldier 'an inspiration'

  • HLN's Kyra Phillips interviews Retired General David Petraeus
  • Petraeus calls Mark Weber's book 'Tell My Sons' 'extraordinary story from an extraordinary soldier'
Petraeus to HLN: Dying soldier 'an inspiration'

Soldier’s last message to sons inspires others

Retired General David Petraeus has opened up about a moving new book written by a dying soldier.

In a rare interview with Kyra Phillips on HLN’s "Raising America," Petraeus calls retired Lt. Col. Mark Weber’s book, “Tell My Sons,” an "inspiration" and "an extraordinary story from an extraordinary soldier." While Petraeus avoided going into details about his own personal failings, he said that the book arrived at a very challenging time, and he found it to be equal parts inspirational and sobering.

Weber is a career military man who spent 23 years serving his country. Today, he’s 41 years old and is dying of cancer. In the face of his own hardship, he wrote down a series of stories that he hopes will guide his three sons -- giving them special insight into his own battle with mortality.

Weber has called Petraeus a hero and mentor. Now the coin has flipped. Petraeus, who served with Weber in Iraq in 2005, said he has enormous admiration for the dying soldier.

"He emphasizes in his book the importance of pressing on when life doesn’t go the way you’d want it to go," Petraeus said. "And that’s what he and his family are doing. They’re bearing the heaviest burden imaginable in truly admirable fashion. Mark describes himself as a soldier in transition. He is. And, of course, he is an exceptional one, one among countless other veterans in transitions of all kinds." 

"I can confirm that Mark has inspired many of us by the perspective on life that his story provides," Petraeus continued. "As he explains to his sons in his book, and, of course, the book is for them, ‘As bad as things may seem, you can take a knee for a bit, but then you’ve got to get back up and get going.’ That’s what we see Mark doing in response to his extraordinary challenge -- writing a book, going on outings with his family, speaking to high school students and business groups and volunteering for a six month service project with a wonderful veteran’s organization, The Mission Continues. Frankly, that’s the kind of inspiration and example we can all use from time to time.”


Watch Raising America every week day at 12 p.m. ET on HLN. And be sure to tweet @KyraHLN with the #RaisingAmerica hashtag or leave your thoughts on

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