Hundreds mourn soldier's death - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds mourn soldier's death

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Bowl-A-Rama holds Back-to-School Bash

    Bowl-A-Rama holds Back-to-School Bash

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:19 PM EDT2014-08-02 03:19:59 GMT
    James Smith, studentJames Smith, student
    An Albany bowling alley is helping kids have a little fun before they go back to school. Bowl-A-Rama held its first Back-to-School Bash for High School Students in Dougherty, Lee, Mitchell, and Baker Counties. More >>
    An Albany bowling alley is helping kids have a little fun before they go back to school. Bowl-A-Rama held its first Back-to-School Bash for High School Students in Dougherty, Lee, Mitchell, and Baker Counties. More >>
  • Valdosta organization prepares for backpack giveaway

    Valdosta organization prepares for backpack giveaway

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-08-02 03:14:47 GMT
    Volunteers at Moody Air Force Base pre-packed more than 900 backpacks with school supplies on Friday.More >>
    Volunteers at Moody Air Force Base pre-packed more than 900 backpacks with school supplies on Friday.More >>
  • Sylvester residents gather for National Night Out

    Sylvester residents gather for National Night Out

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-08-02 03:11:03 GMT
    Scott Vandermolen, Florida residentScott Vandermolen, Florida resident
    A week after 8 teenagers were shot at a party in Sylvester people came together there Friday night to fight crime .A National Night Out celebration was held at Jeffords Park downtown. More >>
    A week after 8 teenagers were shot at a party in Sylvester people came together there Friday night to fight crime .A National Night Out celebration was held at Jeffords Park downtown. More >>

October 15, 2006

Valdosta--A south Georgia soldier killed while serving in Iraq is laid to rest today.

As family members packed the inside of Union Cathedral in Valdosta to say their final good-byes to Staff Sgt. James Ellis, complete strangers also stood outside the church in honor of the fallen soldier.

Mourners from near and far honor a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"We have to come out and pay our due respects to people like this gentleman that gave his life for his country," says John Adkins.

"It's a tragedy to see them dying, but they're fighting for a reason," says Arian Hernandez.

Staff Sgt. James Ellis died from a roadside bomb in Baghdad two weeks ago. He was only twenty-five.

"The younger they are the more difficult it is to stand here," says Adkins.

"It hurts. It hurts," says Minch.

John Minch belongs to a group of bikers called the Patriot Guard Riders. They honor soldiers, like Ellis, killed in the line of duty.

"This young man was willing to give his life to protect me and my freedoms, this is the very, very least I can do for him," says Minch.

Complete strangers salute this fallen soldier who they call a hero.  Others honor Ellis with American flags in hand. Emotions run high for many, even for Minch.

"There's a lot of emotions you go through, but doing the right thing is never hard," says Minch.

Nearby young children hold signs that read "We love our troops."

"We wanted to support our troops.  They're out there fighting for us," says Sarah Adams.

While losing a soldier in the war is never easy, these mourners say it's important to stand by them no matter what.

"That's what keeps them motivated, that's what keeps them going on, keeps them from giving up." says Hernandez.

 And it's that support that lets families like this know that soldier's bravery overseas has not gone unnoticed.

Ellis is just one of the many soldiers to die while serving in Iraq. While his family is saddened by his death, they say he enjoyed serving his country and believed in what he was fighting for. Ellis was just 25-years-old when he lost his life while fighting the war on terrorism.

Family members describe the young soldier as a loving father and devoted husband.

Ellis leaves behind his wife of two years, Ulrica, and their 14-month old daughter Ja'Niayah Ellis.

Ellis was originally from Chicago, Illinois but called south Georgia home.Ellis was scheduled to return home by December 1st.

He would have spent his first Christmas with his daughter.

Feedback: news@walb.com?Subject=ValdostaSoldierDeath