Saturday, June 09, 2007

Jason Schumann laid to rest

HAWLEY, Minn. – Sgt. Jason Schumann loved his country and its people so much, he volunteered for a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Such compassion and dedication for serving in the military were what set the 23-year-old apart, the Rev. Tom Olson, pastor of Hawley’s Solem Lutheran Church, said Thursday, as Schumann’s casket lie before him in the Hawley High School gymnasium.

“We come to lay to rest a soldier … a man who was cut down in the prime of his life, but freely chose to serve his country and his world,” Olson said. “Jason was extremely proud to serve.”

Schumann, a 2002 graduate of Hawley High School, was killed May 19 in Iraq.

His funeral Thursday drew nearly 500 relatives, friends and community members, who together remembered Schumann’s life and sudden death.

As mourners entered the high school, more than 40 American flags billowed in the wind outside. Family and friends donned buttons with the words, “Our hero,” next to Schumann’s picture.

Schumann – dubbed “Tuba” by his classmates – symbolized the spirit of the community, Olson said, and his absence resonates throughout the Hawley community.

“He did not die in vain,” Olson said. “He died doing what he felt was right – laying down his life so that others may live.”

It was Schumann’s maturity and insight at a young age that Olson said he’ll remember most.

At age 18, Schumann penned an essay, entitled “Afghanistan,” five months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Olson read an excerpt of Schumann’s essay during the funeral.

Schumann wrote of the hate crimes against Arab Americans in the months following 9/11, saying “The true enemy is not the Taliban on the other side of the planet. The true enemy lives in our own hatred of our fellow Americans” because of differences in religion and culture.

From the Forum

Related Link:
Jason A. Schumann dies of 'wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'