FLEMINGSBURG, Ky.- An Army sergeant killed in a bombing in Iraq was memorialized Sunday at the Kentucky high school where he graduated.
Sgt. John E. Cooper, 29, was one of four soldiers killed earlier this month in Mosul when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle.
Family, friends and supporters gathered Sunday afternoon at Fleming County High School to remember Cooper. His brother, Terry Cooper, told gatherers he feels a swelling of pride when he thinks of Cooper's service.
“I thought I knew what pride was,” Terry Cooper said. But he said the death of his brother in combat “made me feel a pride I'd never felt before.”
Terry Cooper said he has received calls, letters and visits from people in the community after his brother's death.
Cooper's two young nieces read poems at the service.
Cooper's casket was draped with a flag, pictures of him hung nearby and patriotic flower arrangements surrounded his coffin.
He was an infantryman with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. He joined the Army shortly after graduating high school in 1995.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge and a Purple Heart.
The three others killed in the same blast were 2nd Lt. Mark J. Daily, 23, of Irvine, Calif.; Sgt. Ian C. Anderson, 22, of Prairie Village, Kan.; and Spc. Matthew T. Grimm, 21, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Members from an extremist Kansas church did not protest the funeral service Sunday, as they had announced, The Ledger Independent of Maysville reported Sunday. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church have picketed dozens of funerals for soldiers around the country.
Other more supportive groups brought members from as far away as Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia, who lined the entrance the high school with flags in hand.
“We do this to show respect for the family and for the fallen soldier,” said Bill Miller, a member of the Patriot Guard, a group of motorcycle riders.