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Army Sgt. Blair W. Emery

Died November 30, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Lee, Maine; assigned to the 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Nov. 30 in Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Maine soldier’s body is being returned to home town

The Associated Press

LEE, Maine — A soldier who was killed last week in Iraq was remembered Dec. 7 as a simple man who asked for little and gave more than he received.

Hundreds of people filled the Lee Academy gymnasium to pay their respects to Sgt. Blair Emery, who was killed Nov. 30 after a roadside bomb exploded next to his Humvee in Baqubah.

Gov. John Baldacci and state military officials presented medals to Emery’s widow, Chu Emery, who told the crowd that her husband was an “angel.”

Emery, 24, was the second soldier from this small town to die this year in Iraq. In June, Sgt. Joel House, who was 22, was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad.

Both attended Lee Academy, graduating one year apart.

“This is very devastating for this small community to have two fine individuals taken like this before their time,” Baldacci said.

Veterans groups lined the motorcade route and members snapped to attention as a hearse brought Emery’s body home Dec. 6. The motorcade, led by the local police chief, included state, local and county police, along with fire departments and ambulances.

Carl Thompson of Ketchikan, Alaska, one of Emery’s uncles, was moved to tears.

“This community can be proud of its people as well as the people that serve,” Thompson said. “I just know that everywhere we looked there were people waving flags, people standing with their hands over their hearts, or pulling their cars over to wave. It just shows what this community is made out of real Americans.”

Emery was originally scheduled to return to the U.S. at the end of October, but his deployment was extended by another three months, his family said.

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