Oak Ridge soldier killed in Afghanistan laid to rest

Oak Ridge soldier killed in Afghanistan laid to rest in East Tennessee

Posted:
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Ward (source: Weatherford Mortuary) U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Ward (source: Weatherford Mortuary)
Those who knew him came together Saturday in his hometown to celebrate the life he lived. Those who knew him came together Saturday in his hometown to celebrate the life he lived.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - Family and friends gathered Saturday to pay their respects, as a local soldier killed in Afghanistan was laid to rest.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Ward, 24, died last weekend when a suicide bomber hit his patrol unit in Kandahar.

Ward was from Oak Ridge.

Those who knew him came together Saturday in his hometown to celebrate the life he lived.

They say he loved his country, a country that will not soon forget the ultimate sacrifice he gave for the red, white and blue.

Members of patriot groups from across East Tennessee showed up at the service, lining the sidewalk with more than 50 American flags in Ward's memory.

"All I can say is thank you and he won't be forgotten. Didn't know us but he's fighting for us. He's doing it for us. This is our way of saying thank you," said Duane Romine of the Patriot Heart Riders.

The stars and stripes serving as a sign of appreciation to the fallen soldier, killed in action.

"I want to thank him so much for what he's given me and gave my family. The sacrifice that he gave, I don't think that I could ever repay," said Romine.

Ward was honored by his fellow servicemen with a military salute at the service.

He was also awarded a Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal.

"Everybody just beamed when they talked about him. He had a close kinship with his cousins and he would give you the shirt off his back," said Sonya Napier, a senior ride captain with the Patriot Guard Riders.

Ward's life may have been cut short, but not before he was able to touch the lives of everyone who knew him.

"Nobody had one bad thing to say about him. That says a lot and speak to the type of person he was," said Napier.

Following Ward's death, Governor Bill Haslam has ordered flags be lowered to half staff across Tennessee.

Officials with the United States Department of Defense say the investigation into the attack that killed Ward is ongoing.

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