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UK grad to talk about strangers' support after fiance's death in Iraq

Author and journalist Dana Canedy is returning to the University of Kentucky, her alma mater, to talk about what she has learned since the release of her book that chronicles the letters that her fiancé sent from Iraq to the son he barely knew.

Canedy, a New York Times senior editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner, will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Memorial Hall.

She is the author of A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor, which she compiled from the letters that 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King sent to their baby son, Jordan. King was killed in Iraq Oct. 14, 2006, when Jordan was 7 months old.

Canedy said the reaction to the book has surprised even her. Responses from military families, for instance, have been "completely overwhelming," she said.

"Some have said, 'If we had the voice, this is what we'd want to say,'" she said.

"And for others, it personalized the war for them."

Since embarking on a nation wide tour in January that started in her hometown of Radcliff, Canedy said she has been helped in her healing by the outpouring of support from strangers. That will be one of the main themes of her talk Tuesday: "That even in tragedy you can pick yourself up," she said. "But the main reason I wrote this book was to tell people about this honorable man."

Canedy's presentation, called "I alone can't teach him to be a man," is sponsored by the UK Alumni Association, the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center and the UK College of Communication. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Canedy will spend Tuesday afternoon talking with journalism classes and will speak at a luncheon for UK's chapter of the National Association for Black Journalists.

"The thing I hope to get across the campus community in particular is that I'm a girl from Kentucky and didn't make the best grades," she said. "But I went for my dreams."