Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Aaron Genevie laid to rest

The quote appeared on Pfc. Aaron M. Genevie's MySpace page a few days before he was killed in Baghdad. His mother isn't sure who posted it next to his photo, but it captures the spirit of her son, she said.

"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag."

Genevie, 22, of Chambersburg, Pa., died April 16 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Genevie was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan. Yesterday, he became the 330th service member killed in Iraq or Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

"I figured he was my hero and that is where heroes go," Patricia Genevie said in an interview before the funeral, referring to Arlington. "I think he would be very proud to be there. . . . He was fulfilling his childhood dream. He believed in America and what it stands for."

Yesterday, Patricia Genevie followed her son's flag-draped coffin to his grave site as 21 shots echoed from the final salute for another soldier. Near her son's grave were a bouquet of large, yellow chrysanthemums and two faded red roses that belonged to an Army captain buried more than a week ago.

Genevie was "a brother, a friend, a fellow citizen, a patriot," said Army Chaplain Lt. Col. James D. Gray. Then it was Genevie's turn to be saluted. A seven-member rifle squad fired three volleys. A bugler played taps.

Genevie, an honor roll student and athlete, followed both of his grandfathers into the Army, but it was harder than he had planned, his mother said. He had to fight a former doctor's note in his medical file stating that he had asthma and a shoulder injury from the many sports he played, she said.

"He had to go through all this red tape to get in there, but he never gave up on it," she said.

The 2003 McConnellsburg High School graduate worked at TB Wood's, an electronic motor controls manufacturing company in Chambersburg, until he was accepted into the service. Joel Lehman, Genevie's supervisor, described him as a dedicated and "extremely hard worker."

Pfc. Zachary F. Clark, 24, became friends with Genevie during basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. Both were stationed at Fort Riley.

"He was always just, like, the life of everything. I don't think I ever saw him without smile on his face," Clark said. He said Genevie was always willing to "help out a buddy."

Friends could always rely on Genevie, said Amanda Ott, 20, of Shippensburg, Pa. "He made you feel as if he really cared and was interested in everything you had to say. I really admire that warmth that he could bring to a room. He was a classy guy," she said in an e-mail to The Post.

Genevie was one of the bravest in his troop, said Tina Kyser, 20, whose husband, Pfc. Nathan Kyser, served with Genevie. In an e-mail to The Post, Kyser said she had to force Genevie to call her Tina, not Mrs. Kyser, despite the fact that she was younger than him.

Genevie sent Tina Kyser an e-mail the day after her wedding. "He told me that as long as he was on the truck with my husband and they were together, I had nothing to fear," she said.

But for Patricia Genevie, her worst fear was realized.

"I have a very special relationship with him, also. He was like my best friend. He could talk to me about anything. I could talk to him. . . . You know, he was just a good kid," she said.

From the Washington Post

Related Link:
Aaron M. Genevie dies of injuries from I.E.D.