Loved ones and fellow soldiers gathered today to remember a Third Infantry Division soldier killed in Iraq. WTOC was at the memorial service this afternoon, the first since the division returned to Iraq. Unfortunately, this won't be the last as others have fallen since Spec. Daniel Harrison.
On a field lined with flags and trees, Harrison's two families met to remember him. His mother, father and brother cried with the soldiers who served with him. Spec. Harrison was killed in late December in Iraq.
"I guess the main thing is even though we've lost Daniel, we've gained a lot of family and they've been very close and very comforting at this time," said Daniel's father Doug Harrison.
Soldiers who knew Daniel called him a credit to the Army and the country. "Nothing can replace Dan Harrison," said Maj. Thomas Byrd of the 293rd MP Company. "He was a great kid, very dedicated to being a soldier and a military policeman."
"Since we got here, they've told us we're in their family too and the Army has been great through this," said Daniel's brother Joshua Harrison.
As they dedicated the 46th tree on Warrior's Walk, they know it won't be the last. The Department of Defense just last night confirmed three more Third Infantry soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
As soldiers prepare for more memorials next month, the Harrisons say they'll rely on faith and the support of Daniel's comrades in their time of sorrow.
His dad remembers Daniel's last call home. "I said, 'You're my hero.' Every time I talked to him, I said that. He said, 'It's like this Dad, no matter what I have to do or what happens to me, it's all worth it to me as long as you guys are safe at home.'"
He says they're just proud he died defending the family and country he loved.
Commanders tell us memorial services like this will be held on the Third Thursday of each month to honor soldiers like those killed over the weekend in Iraq.
Of course, soldiers with the Third ID continue their vital mission in the Middle East. Our Mike Manhatton and chief videographer Mehmet Caglyan spent a week with them in Kuwait. You can see what life is like for the soldiers this Sunday in our half-hour telecast Special Assignment: WTOC in Kuwait. That's Sunday at 6:30pm on WTOC.