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Army Sgt. Joshua W. Harris

Died September 17, 2008 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

21, of Romeoville, Ill.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion 122nd Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard, Robbins, Ill.; died Sept. 17 in Gerdia Seria, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. Also killed was 1st Lt. Mohsin A. Naqvi, Capt. Bruce E. Hays and Staff Sgt. Jason A. Vazquez.

Army Sgt. Joshua W. Harris remembered

The Associated Press

It was a lifelong dream of Joshua W. Harris’ to serve in the military and he enlisted with the National Guard while he was still in high school.

Don Gillingham, executive director of Walther Lutheran High School, remembered Harris as the kid who always wore a smile but felt a deep sense of purpose.

“He felt like he was doing something important,” Gillingham said of Harris’ military aspirations. “He had that. His life had purpose. His life had meaning.”

Harris, 21, of Romeoville, Ill., was killed Sept. 17 when his vehicle struck an explosive in Gerdia Seria. He was a 2006 high school graduate and was assigned to Robbins, Ill.

Harris loved history and once visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on a trip to Springfield. He was enthralled by the Civil War exhibits.

He was a member of a Boy Scout drum and bugle corps, and continued in the military, often playing taps on the bugle at the funerals of fallen comrades.

He is survived by his father and stepmother, Bill and Jean Harris, and his mother, Mille Harris-Hickey.

“He died in the line of duty doing what he chose to do,” said Harris’ father.

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