Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ward Linder laid to rest

HICKORY -- He was a son, father and friend. Army Cpl. Darryl Wardlaw “Ward” Linder also was a soldier who died serving his country.

Linder’s body was laid to rest Thursday. He was two months shy of his 24th birthday.

Linder was buried next to his mother, Angela. She died in May 2000 from a motorcycle accident. She was 35.

“You remember this young man who grew up in Hickory and went off to war,” said the Rev. Paul Cook during Linder’s funeral at Faith Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ. “Our lives, liberties and freedoms are still under attack.”

Linder is the sixth soldier from the region to die in the Middle East since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He joined the Army in 2006 after serving four years in the Marine Corps. This was his second tour of duty in the Middle East.

The funeral was a somber affair. As has become almost a daily occurrence across the nation since the war began, members of an elite honor guard performed the military rites accorded veterans. Members of the Fort Bragg Honor Guard escorted Linder’s flag-draped casket out of the church and into a waiting hearse. With police lights showing the way, the funeral procession slowly rolled down U.S. 70 to Catawba Memorial Park.

There, after a short message from Cook, a 21-gun volley was fired. Linder’s father and stepmother, Darryl and Melinda Linder, and his fiancee, Nicole Gray, wept as the bugler slowly played ‘taps.’

Pictured on the lid of the vault that would house Linder’s casket was an image of an American flag, a photo of Linder and the inscription, “He died an American hero, fighting for the freedom of others.”

Linder was buried next to his mother, Angela Linder.

He leaves behind a 3-year-old son, Kyle.

Linder held the rank of specialist when he was killed on June 19 in Iraq by a roadside bomb. He was posthumously promoted to corporal.

From the Hicory Daily Record

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