For the first time in 50 years, three brothers finally came together at Fort Knox, Ky., this weekend.
Raised as an only child, Major General Robert Edmonson II, 54, knew of his adoption in Germany and later learned that his real father’s name was Edward Jackson and that he was from Texas.
Brian Jackson, 53, and his brother, Eric, 50, grew up in an Army family. They both knew of an older brother, who was adopted when their father was on active duty in Germany. While on his second tour in Germany, their dad learned that he fathered a son with a past girlfriend who later gave the child up for adoption.
According to ABC News, a DNA test taken by Edmonson’s oldest son helped to bring these three brothers together after five decades. While it is unclear what prompted the DNA test, the outcome was a family being brought together.
Edmonson and his younger half-brothers, Brian and Colonel Eric Jackson, were reunited at Fort Knox, Ky., on Saturday at the base where Eric is now stationed.
“A number of emotions came to mind. I was raised as an only child, so I immediately had siblings,” Edmonson told ABC News. “I am still learning what that means. I’m learning more about the emotions associated with having siblings.”
Everyone in Edmonson’s family supported his decision to contact his biological family after the deaths of his adoptive parents. While appreciative of his upbringing, Edmonson felt it was time to connect with his long-lost brothers.
“I had a terrific upbringing, raised by an Army family, served for 20 years, provided for me as best they could, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I knew that it was time for me to reach out,” Edmonson told ABC News.
The brothers lived similar lives and were connected in many ways, according to ABC News:
Their father, Edward Jackson, had served not only in Germany and Vietnam but had completed 20 years’ service as a soldier. Edmonson’s adoptive father, Robert E. Edmonson, also had a 20-year Army career with tours in Germany and Vietnam.
Both had served as young captains in the 82nd Airborne Division. They were in the same national fraternity, and their wives were nurses who belonged to the same national sorority. Plus, both of their oldest sons shared the same birthday.
Edmonson now serves as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground. Eric Jackson is a Lieutenant Colonel, which means his brother outranks him. This made their first phone conversation with each other very memorable.
“During that entire conversation, every comment ended with ‘Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.’” Jackson told ABC News. “And at the end of the conversation, Robert said, ‘Before we all hang up,’ he said, ‘Please stop calling me sir.’”
Eric Jackson said he was nervous before the reunion because, “The brother that we’ve always been looking for would finally be known to us and get a chance to bond as brothers, not just his brothers in arms, but as brothers that share the same DNA brothers, but that share the same Army story,” ABC News reports.
“But if I could sum it up in one word, that one word could be ‘love,’” he added. “And if I was to put a banner on it, it would be ‘brotherly love,’”
Upon meeting Edmonson, Brian Jackson reminisced about their father, Edward, who passed away in 2007.
“When I first met Robert, the first thing I can see is his mannerisms, his smile, his eyes,” Brian said. “They all reminded me of my dad.”
Eric Jackson said that his father is “dancing in heaven right now and excited that we’re connected and that we finally found each other.”Although Edward wasn’t present to witness his sons’ reunion, Barbara Jackson, his widow, told ABC News that “He would be crying tears. Cry and cry and cry, and he would be so happy.”