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Published: Monday, 4/28/2008

Soldier's memorials draw 14,000

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CINCINNATI - Military workers and supporters from across the country joined in memorials yesterday for a slain Army reservist who had become a poignant picture of the war in Iraq after he was captured by insurgents.

Officials estimated that about 10,000 people walked past Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin's casket during a weekend visitation at a civic center in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, where he grew up.

Another 4,000 headed to Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, for an afternoon memorial service, which was billed as a celebration.

The crowd occupied the lower portion of the 42,000-seat stadium, behind home plate, stretching from first base to third.

Sergeant Maupin's flag-draped casket was on a platform in the area of the pitcher's mound. The only people on the field were members of the 338th Army band and about 100 family members, military representatives, and dignitaries.

"Matt Maupin was the all-American kid," said retired Lt. Gen. James Campbell, representing the Army at the service. "We are so proud of you. You have served your country with honor and distinction."

Sergeant Maupin's remains were found in Iraq last month, nearly four years after he was captured when his fuel convoy was attacked near Baghdad on April 9, 2004.

Members of his unit, the Illinois-based 724th Transportation Co., were among those on the field yesterday.

"In his service, he became a son to all of Batavia and a son to all of Ohio," said Gov. Ted Strickland. "The Maupins heard the prayers of people from across the state and across the world."



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