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Published: Sunday, 11/15/2009

Mourners say farewell to Fort Hood victims


PLYMOUTH, Ind. - Hundreds of people lining the main street of this small Indiana city yesterday fell silent as a hearse passed on its way to the church. Mourners also streamed into a Wisconsin gymnasium to remember a soldier who once promised to take down Osama bin Laden.

Across the country, many stood before flag-draped coffins during funeral services for six of the 13 victims of the Nov. 5 shootings in Fort Hood, Texas.

In Plymouth, Sheila Ellabarger placed two foot-high American flags in the grass where she watched the procession for Army Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow. She said her children went to school with Sergeant DeCrow and his wife - his high school sweetheart - and she knew other members of his family.

During services in Norman, Okla., snapshots from U.S. Army Spc. Jason Dean Hunt's recent wedding were projected near his casket. The 22-year-old was described as a loving husband and family man as well as a soldier who left a legacy of selflessness and service.

The high school gymnasium in Kiel, Wis., was filled for Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger's funeral. During visiting hours there Friday, the 29-year-old was remembered as determined and energetic.

She joined the Army Reserves after the 2001 terrorist attacks and vowed to hunt down bin Laden. When her mother said she couldn't do it alone, the soldier defiantly told her, "Watch me."

She was to deploy to Afghanistan for a second time in December and had been sent for training to Fort Hood, where authorities allege Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at a processing center.

In Utah, among those crowded into a Mormon chapel were Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, according to Lt. Col. Lisa Olsen, Utah National Guard spokesman. They joined the family and friends of Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka for the funeral honoring the 19-year-old.

Other funerals yesterday were for Capt. John Gaffaney, 56, a psychiatric nurse from San Diego County, California, and Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22, of Bolingbrook, Ill.

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