There have been more than 2,000 American military personnel killed while fighting the war in Afghanistan - fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, brothers and friends. The sad list now includes Master Sgt. George Bannar Jr. from Orange County.
Bannar had served five combat tours there and now has come home for the last time - and was being laid to rest alongside other patriots. Bannar was buried Tuesday in Culpeper National Cemetery following a funeral filled with memories of a man who served and died for his country.
"George Allen was just an awesome person," said Caryl Bannar, Bannar's aunt.
More than 300 family members, friends and patriotic strangers filled the gym at the former Locust Grove Middle School Tuesday to remember the 37-year-old Orange County native.
"He was always a friend. He was always in your mind and always in your life," said Caryl.
Bannar was killed August 20 in an enemy attack in Afghanistan. It was his fifth tour of duty in that country. Caryl knows he served with pride.
"He did what he loved to do. And he died doing it. He was very proud of that," said Bannar.
The Virginia Patriot Guard leads a lengthy funeral procession. The 17 bikers look tough, but they're sharing a personal experience.
"They don't know who he is. But he went out there to fight for our freedoms," said Jeff Chandler, Virginia Patriot Guard State Captain.
The procession passed under an American flag towering over Route 20.
"I hope that by seeing the community come out like we did and like other people in the community did, they understand how proud we are as Orange County people," said Chief Bert Roby of the Orange County Volunteer Fire Department.
That pride is how Bannar's family hopes his community and country remembers his service and sacrifice.
"All of our young men and women that served over there and that are serving now - we should all be very, very proud of them," said Bannar.
Tuesday's funeral took a community effort. Fifty members of the Orange County High School Junior ROTC helped prepare the school for the service. Bannar leaves behind a widow - Michelle.
Funeral Held for Fallen Orange County SoldierMore>>