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George Obourn Jr. and Kris Walker

Discussion in 'Roll of Honor & Memories - All Other Conflicts' started by Biak, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Below is an article taken from the local newspaper about two soldiers. My wife taught both of these men when they were seven years old and in second grade. Grew up together, Enlisted together, to be read together.

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    As the skies darkened at East Peoria Community High School's homecoming game Friday, a musician lifted a trumpet and played taps, the notes echoing over the football field where George Obourn Jr. and Kris Walker marched in the school band before going off to war.
    Two marching band hats were handed to their families, memorializing friends who had grown up together, graduated together in 2004, and then joined the Army together.
    The men also were deployed to Iraq together, and in a coincidence that has stunned this central Illinois town, they died within 24 hours of each other--Obourn in a building explosion Tuesday, Walker from a roadside bomb Monday, both near Baghdad.
    "It helped knowing they had each other," Debbie Obourn said of her son's friendship with Walker.
    They were two of 26 soldiers killed in Iraq during the last week, the deadliest for American troops there since January, and among the deadliest for U.S. forces since the Iraq invasion, according to U.S. military tallies. The memorial service on a football field in East Peoria came as recently fallen service members were remembered across the country.

    In Wakefield, Mass., 1,300 students observed a moment of silence Friday for Marine Lance Cpl. Edward M. Garvin, killed Wednesday in Iraq's Anbar province. On Wednesday, a memorial service was held for Sgt. Joseph W. Perry at Ft. Bragg, N.C., The Modesto Bee reported, after the California native's death Monday in Muhallah, Iraq. Others killed this week hailed from Highland, N.Y.; Pendleton, S.C.; San Antonio; and Brooklyn.

    Obourn and Walker, both 20, members of the 7th Battalion, 10th Cavalry Regiment, were scheduled to return to the U.S. next month. Walker had been sending home letters saying he had gotten a lot from his military experience, and that he might even try joining the FBI after leaving the Army, Walker's father, Kevin, said in a halting voice before the memorial service Friday.
    "He thought he could make a difference," Kevin Walker said of his son. "He had always wanted to join, especially after 9/11."
    Obourn's parents, Debbie and George Sr., said their son joined the Army during the war out of a sense of duty. He brought home pictures of his work during a Father's Day visit, most of them depicting the smiling faces of Iraqi children. The young man was as proud of what he was doing in Iraq as the Obourns were of their son, his father said. Though they had moved to Naperville three years ago, they drove back to East Peoria for the Friday commemoration.
    Family members, former teachers, and hometown friends recalled the young men as friendly enough to transcend school cliques and aimed at service for much of their adolescence.
    At St. Peter's Lutheran Church in East Peoria, Obourn made up and delivered Christmas baskets to children who otherwise wouldn't get presents. As a teen, Walker would leap to the defense of classmates being teased, said East Peoria physical education teacher Glen Newton.
    Both grew up near Peoria, got decent marks, and were involved in the school band program. Nobody could put a finger on when they enlisted in the Army together, said school Principal Paul Whittington. "It was just something when you heard they were in the armed services together, nobody was surprised," he said.
    As their deaths sank in--as close together as everything else in their lives--a sense of grim acceptance grew in East Peoria.
    "The boys were inseparable, so it was almost like it was meant to be," said Robin Goff, their freshman science teacher.
    Friday night, the school band in which Obourn had once played the trumpet and Walker the trombone marched in to applause from the East Peoria crowd, leading teens, their families and neighbors through cheers.
    But an enormous change came over the crowd as Whittington led the young men's families onto the field.
    "Our heroes paid the ultimate sacrifice," Whittington said. Raucous children, the younger siblings of high school students, grew silent. Adults set their jaws or looked into the bright white lights around the field.
    Two marching band hats were placed on a maroon table, officially retired in honor of the two boys who once had worn hats just like them. Taking the field, trumpeter Keith Wilfinger, 18, a returning alumnus, closed his eyes and began playing taps.
    The notes came out clearly and echoed over the silent crowd.

    Debbie and George Obourn Sr. held hands, as did Beth and Kevin Walker, both sets of parents in the center of a huddle of extended family, most fighting back sobs.
    As the last note faded away, a dignified applause took its place, washing over the Obourn and Walker families. The marching band hats were handed to them as the national anthem began playing.
    "God Bless America. God Bless Kris and George," the principal said.
    His part over, Wilfinger walked off the field, his face set, to a wall 50 feet away at the bottom of the grandstand.

    Alone under the crowd and out of sight, he put a hand over his eyes and began sobbing.

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    Tipnring and TD-Tommy776 like this.
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    :rose:
     
  3. Tipnring

    Tipnring Member

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    Never forget their sacrifice for our freedom.
     

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