Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Triangle of Death Hostage Search: Day 18

Another of the five U.S. soldiers killed as a result of an Al Qaeda-led ambush on May 12 has reached his final resting place.
Corporal Christopher Edward Murphy was buried yesterday afternoon in Arlington National Cemetery after a memorial service in Gladys, Campbell County, Virginia.
Murphy was a 2004 graduate of William Campbell High School, where hundreds of people gathered in the school gymnasium to celebrate his 21 years of life.

When Christopher was a kid, his older sister Shawna Murphy said, he loved Star Trek and treasured a model of one of the spaceships from the TV show. Her voice cracking, she said that in a fit of adolescent anger, she destroyed it:

"I meant it then. But I don’t mean it now.

"I’m going to always remember him for the depth of love he had for the people around him. Christopher was more generous of a heart than anyone had a right to be."

Murphy's mother, Rosemary Balian, embraced each person who spoke about her son, saying:

"We love him and care for him even though he will no longer be physically here with us.

"We had 21 blessed years with Chris."

She and Darryl Balian, Murphy’s father, were presented the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for their son’s service, while high school Principal Rob Arnold gave the family a banner that had hung in the school’s cafeteria for students to sign after the news of his death.

The high school will retire number 75, the football jersey that Murphy wore when he played for the William Campbell Generals.

Murphy’s casket, draped in a U.S. flag, sat at the center of the gym. A collage with photos of the young man through the years rested nearby. Several bouquets of red, white and blue flowers surrounded the front of the gym.

A seven–member honor guard performed a 21-gun salute, and a bugler played "Taps" before Murphy began his last journey to Arlington National Cemetery.

Said Cleveland Vassal, Murphy’s longtime friend:

"To know that our friend will no longer be with us … it leaves a sting in your heart.

"[But] “He’s not feeling any more pain. He’s happy, and he’s all right."

The search continues for two soldiers from Murphy's unit -- Specialist Alex R. Jiminez and Private Byron Fouty.

* * * * *
Here's an index of previous Kiko's House reports on the ambush and search:

Tuesday, May 29: A Shrine to the Dead
Monday, May 28: The Next War
Sunday, May 27: Search Enters Third Week
Saturday, May 26:
A Somber Holiday in Michigan
Friday, May 25:
Memorial Day Edition
Thursday, May 24:
A Vigil For Joseph Anzack

Wednesday, May 23:
A Body Is Found

Tuesday, May 22:
Ambush Victims Come Home For Burial
Monday, May 21: Hopes Grow Slimmer

Sunday, May 20:
A Flicker of Hope But the Trail Goes Cold
Saturday, May 19: The Triangle of Death Up Close

Friday, May 18:
Who Are the Dead and Missing Men?
Thursday, May 17: Has the Search Impacted on the Surge?
Wednesday, May 16: Anatomy of An Abduction & Search

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