Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jeremy Shank laid to rest

Cpl. Jeremy Shank, who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq, was buried Sunday in Jackson.

As a child, Jeremy Shank patrolled the streets of Jackson with a toy rifle over his shoulder and a toy pistol in his jeans.

He called himself the "gun guy," his father Jim Shank said.

"Jeremy had always been the gun guy, even up to his last breath," Jim Shank said Sunday at his son's funeral.

Cpl. Jeremy Shank, 18, died Sept. 6 in Balad, Iraq, of injuries suffered in Hawijah, Iraq. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Shank was on a dismounted security patrol when he encountered enemy forces using small arms.

About 300 family members, friends and soldiers packed the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church in Jackson. Hundreds more gathered outside the church and waved flags in support of Jeremy Shank and his family.

Jim Shank remembered his son as a young man with a huge heart and a sense of humor.

Jeremy Shank had three last requests, his father said. The first was to be buried with full military honors, and if something were to happen to him, Jeremy wanted the military to notify his fiancee, Ashley Hahn of Millersville.

"And third, just to show that he had a sense of humor, he wanted his dad to do his eulogy," Jim Shank said as looked out at the crowded pews and flag-draped coffin in front of him.

"Jeremy was that little boy, who liked to cover the toilet seat with cellophane. And that little boy who tied rubber bands around the spray nozzles on the kitchen sink, so that when I turned on the sink, it sprayed me," said Jim Shank with tears in his eyes.

Read the rest at the S.E. Missourian
Note: Due to problems with blogger we were unable to post news of the fallen for the last 10 days. This post is part of the update from that period.