Saturday, February 03, 2007

Jacob Fritz laid to rest

An Iraqi insurgent ambush claimed the life of Falls City soldier Jacob Fritz. Wednesday, the army officer was laid to rest.

An entire city felt Lieutenant Fritz`s death. His Falls City, Nebraska hometown flew American flags along city streets. Many businesses were closed for his funeral and displayed flags in store windows. Only 4,600 people call Falls City home, but more than one-thousand of them packed into Prichard Auditorium for Fritz`s funeral.

Clutching the American flag that draped her son`s casket, Noala Fritz takes solace in the life her son led. Twenty-five-year-old First Lieutenant Jacob Fritz is laid to rest with full military honors.

Better known as "Jolly Jake" to his West Point family, the military academy graduate is remembered for his leadership, generosity and good nature. Three military officers who knew Fritz best gave eulogies. One quoted a poem, saying `the mighty has fallen.`

"We were very close friends," First Lt. Travis Reinold, Fritz`s West Point roommate, says. "We were part of a crew that we called the A1 Mafia. We were in company A1; we weren`t a mafia by any stretch of the imagination, but we were a close group of friends."

Now the band of brothers lays a hometown hero to rest, as Jacob`s younger brother stands strong. Following in Jacob`s footsteps, West Point Cadet Daniel Fritz comforts his family.

"Jacob was a farm boy through and through," First Lt. Sean Hollers, Fritz`s West Point fellow graduate, says.

The army officer planned to serve for 20 years before coming home to the Huskers.

"First Lt. Fritz was a brave, full-of-courage, lead-from the-front type of man," his friends say in eulogies.

And, Lt. Fritz was a highly-decorated soldier.

"This is to certify that the President of the Unites States of America has awarded the Purple Heart," a military official calls out from a podium.

Lt. Fritz`s family will now hold his Purple Heart, Bronze Star and National Defense Service Medal, among others.

"There`s sadness at Jake being passed away, there`s a little bit of anger about what happened to Jake, but at the same time, it`s also a celebration of his life, and I know I`ll see him again someday," First Lt. Reinold says.

First Lt. Reinold will also listen for his voice.. Jacob sang in United States Military Academy`s Glee Club. You can still hear his voice today among the melodies in the movie "We Were Soldiers."

A soldier he was, remembered this day and forever in the hearts of those he touched.

"I`ll always remember Jake. He was one of my bestfriends and I`ll miss him," First Lt. Reinold, says.

First Lt. Fritz deployed to Iraq in October. He was there a mere three months before his death in Karbala.

Fritz is one of more than 50 West Point officers to die in Iraq since the war began.

From KQTV 2

Related Link:
Jacob Fritz remembered

Related Link:
Jacob Fritz reported killed in Iraq