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Minnesota National Guard
Cermony held to honor local Soldier killed by blast two years ago, while deployed to Iraq

Snow and sleet fell as the flag was raised against a heavy sky, rifles were fired and taps played Bird Island gathered to honor and remember Kyle Miller on Veterans Day in the park he once enjoyed as a youth

“We remember that all gave some and some gave all,” said Brig Gen Jon Trost, deputy commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command, as he led the ceremony to dedicate a flag memorial to the fallen Soldier

Miller, 19, was serving with the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery near Balad, Iraq, when he was killed on June 29, 2006

Randy Miller of Willmar said time has not lessened the grief or sense of loss that came with his son’s death “It’s hard,” he said after the ceremony, but pointed out that the community’s gesture was important to him and his family He was joined by the deceased Soldier’s step-mother, Candy, to watch as the new flag memorial in his son’s name was unveiled by two Soldiers who had served alongside him

“Honored,” said Miller’s mother, Cathy Miller of Bird Island “It means so much”

She said her son spent many hours as a youth in the city park, and would not have minded the wintry weather mix She remembers him rushing out as a youth to play in the snow

His section leader in New Ulm remembered Miller as the new solider who at first struck him as shy and quiet “Boy, was I fooled,” said Staff Sgt Jamison Burgess of the 1st Batttalion, 125th Field Artillery

He and others who served with Miller described him as fun-loving and a practical joker But most of all, he was the dedicated Soldier, Burgess said “I knew if I gave Kyle a mission it would get done,” he said

Spc’s Bret Baumgardt and Lucas Johnson became close friends with Miller while in Iraq and unveiled the memorial Baumgardt said he and Miller were looking forward to visiting Germany on a reprieve during their Iraqi service He remembers that Neither Soldier wanted to come home and have to say goodbye again to their families

“It’s hard to explain,” Baumgardt said of his friend’s death

Cathy Miller was buying cookies at Maynard’s Grocery in Bird Island to send to the troops after her son’s death when the idea of a flag memorial came to her Store employee Connie Berg said the store contributed funds and coffee cans were placed around town for donations

“We let them (troops) know we will never forget what they’ve done for us,” Berg said

Written by Tom Cherveny,
West Central Tribune
November 12, 2008

Article source: http://www.wctrib.com/

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