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Army Sgt. Shawna M. Morrison

Died September 5, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

26, of Champaign, Ill.; assigned to the 1544th Transportation Company, Illinois Army National Guard, Paris, Ill.; killed Sept. 5 during a mortar attack in Baghdad.

First female Illinois Guard member killed in Iraq eulogized

Associated Press

PARIS, Ill. — School children lined the streets and bagpipes played Tuesday as the community paid its final respects to Sgt. Shawna Morrison, the first female member of the Illinois National Guard to die in combat in Iraq.

Morrison, 26, and another member of the 1544th Transportation Company, Spc. Charles Lamb, 23, were killed Sept. 5 in a mortar attack on their base near Baghdad. Fifteen other soldiers from the Paris-based unit were injured.

“Regardless of politics or opinions about war, today we stand in the presence of honor, duty, love and sacrifice,” the Rev. Kevin Huddleston told mourners in the east-central Illinois town of 9,000.

“Freedom has always come at a high price,” he said. “She went to Iraq willingly and for the sake of others.”

A National Guard honor guard attended Morrison’s flag-draped casket and she was buried with military honors. Adjutant Gen. Randall Thomas attended the service, as did Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who called Morrison “a special person who had a servant’s heart.”

Morrison, who specialized in communications, was an integral part of the 1544th, Thomas said.

“She served with pride, honor and distinction,” he said. “We will never forget her and the ultimate sacrifice she gave her nation. We salute her.”

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