Fallen hero honored in Valdosta - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fallen hero honored in Valdosta

October 21, 2003

Valdosta - After a two and a half month tour of duty in Iraq, Private Benjamin Lee Freeman drowned in the Euphrates River, near Baghdad. He was given a full military salute Tuesday morning in his hometown of Valdosta.

Playing of the taps and a 21 gun salute symbolized the passing of a hero. "He was worthy of all the glory he was given at this funeral," said Helen Freeman, Aunt. "Ben gave the ultimate sacrifice and we will all be forever grateful."

Nineteen-year-old Freeman joined the Army in January of this year and deployed to Iraq in August. His family received a letter from him just a week before he died, saying he was proud of his unit's work overseas. "He said, 'If you could see the faces on these Iraqi people you would know how important it is that we do this job'," said Freeman. "He wanted us to know it was worth the danger to him."

An American flag and the Bronze Star award was presented to his mother, Vicki, and wife, April. The couple was married just three days before he deployed.

Private Freeman's family says even though their loss is unbearable, they take comfort in knowing while Ben has always been a hero to them, he's now a hero for all of America.

posted at 3:20 by ashley.harper@walb.com

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