Friday, March 30, 2007

Robert Carr laid to rest

FOWLER — The chorus from "A Soldier's Heart," played at the funeral of Army Sgt. Robert "Robbie" Michael Carr, is:

"... You stood on the front lines

You led the way, out of
the darkness

You could have let us go astray

You were ready to die for
our sake

And that takes a soldier's heart."

The song by R. Kelly was played Monday morning in Believers' Christian Fellowship Church in Warren. Army Sgt. Jeremy Jenkins, one of Carr's best friends from Champion High School and the Army, said he and Robbie pledged that whoever survived would bring the song to the family of the one who didn't make it.

Carr, a 2002 Champion graduate, was killed March 13 when an improvised explosive detonated under the vehicle he was driving in Baghdad, Iraq. His body arrived home Friday at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna Township.

Later, during the afternoon burial in Dugan Cemetery, words of the service came intermittently through the loud snapping of the flags in the wind: "may the peace of God that passes all understanding ... our Father who art in heaven ... from a grateful nation."

Military honors

Full military honors were accorded to Carr: A three-gun salute by an Army Honor Guard, the playing of taps by an Army bugler and the mournful sound of a bagpipe playing "Amazing Grace," a flyover by an Army helicopter.

The Trumbull County Veterans Honor Guard and members of the Patriot Guard stood by.

U.S. flags were presented to the fallen soldier's wife, Nina of Fowler Township; his mother, Christine Wortman of Champion; and his father, Jeffrey Carr of Fowler. The presentation was followed by the measured salute of Brigadier Gen. John Bartley, a representative of the army chief of staff.

Carr not only had the heart of a soldier, but the heart of a son, the heart of a brother and of a husband, the Rev. Joel Dickson, pastor of Fowler Community Church, said at Believers' Christian Fellowship.

"We're all here to honor the heart of a soldier and of a man ... his courage, honor, valor, selflessness, sense of duty, strength and loyalty. We have freedoms because of people like Robert," the Rev. Mr. Dickson said.

He said to Carr's wife: "Other than God, only you knew the deepest recesses of Robbie's heart."

Personal letters

Nina's was among several letters written as tributes to Carr after his death by family members that Mr. Dickson read to the estimated 300 people who attended the funeral. The Rev. Bill Carter of Believers' Christian also officiated.

"You always called me your angel. I never realized I would be calling you my angel. Until we meet again, I love you more than forever," Nina wrote. She signed her letter 'Peanut,' which was her husband's pet name for her.

In a letter Carr wrote to Nina in December 2006, he said: "My love for you goes straight to my soul. Being with you made me realize there is a God, because he made you especially for me. I love you Peanut for more than forever."

"We'll always have a Rob story that makes us smile," wrote Carr's father, Jeffrey. "Rob always had a soldier's heart. You will be missed," he said to his son. "Love, Dad."

Carr's sisters, Julie and Rachel Carr and Jennifer Brady, agreed he liked to beat them up — but at the same time was very protective.

"I've always looked up to you," said Julie.

"Rob was the strongest person I knew: physically, mentally and emotionally. Rob will forever be my hero," Rachel said.

"This feels just like a regular letter ... but it's not. You were the best big brother a girl could ask for, even though I always thought of you as my baby brother. I'm so proud of you. I love you so much," Jennifer said.

Brother's tribute

In an oral tribute, Army Sgt. Matthew Carr, Robbie's older brother who was wounded in tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, said because of his "little brother's" sacrifice "we can all continue to live free."

"Of course I wish he didn't have to die, but it was his time and he died well. He was a soldier and an all-around credible guy. He died a hero," Matthew said.

"Live Free ... Die Well," was the motto Robbie Carr had imprinted on his Army dog tags.

"He presented his life to serve his country and then gave his life to God," the Rev. Mr. Carter said.

"This is not the end of the story. There is a reunion day coming when there will be no more pain and tears and goodbyes," Mr. Carter added.

"The hurt is great at times like this. We in the Army are also grieving. He was part of our family too," said Gen. Bartley. "Robert understood the meaning of honor, duty and country. He is an American hero."

From the Vindicator

Related Link:
Robert Carr remembered by teachers

Related Link:
Robert M. Carr dies of injuries from I.E.D.