Army Master Sgt. George Bannar Jr. is being remembered by family and friends for his selfless sacrifice Monday. It was a somber evening as those closest to Bannar paid their respects. Many are shocked he is gone, but are remembering what they loved most about him.
"Always laughing, always had that American smile that everybody loved," said Sherri Bedinger, a friend of Bannar's since high school.
The 37-year old soldier from Orange County was killed two weeks ago in Afghanistan after enemy forces attacked his unit. It was shocking news for such a tight knit community.
"Once we all realized that it had really happened everybody was just dumb founded that it happened to such a good guy. And to be so young," said Bedinger.
Family, friends and fellow soldiers filed into Bannar's visitation Monday to pay their respects. Patriot Guard Riders stood outside the funeral home with flags. The group, many of them veterans, attends funerals to honor fallen soldiers.
"I personally did not know MSG Bannar, most of the missions I've been on I did not know the individual, but the point is they died for me, for us," said Dennis "Filo" Markle, Patriot Guard Rider.
Bannar received a number of awards during his military career. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star after his death. While Bannar excelled in his career, friends say he was also a good person.
"Very tender-hearted and kind and always put everybody else in front of himself," said Bedinger.
But even in remembering the good times, Tuesday's funeral still looms overhead.
"I've been upset on an off but tomorrow going to be a very hard day," said Bedinger.
Bannar leaves behind his wife and parents. Tuesday's funeral service will be held at the former Locust Grove Middle School. He will be buried at Culpeper National Cemetery.
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