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Army Spc. Kevin J. Graham

Died September 26, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

27, of Benton, Ky.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Sept. 26 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an IED.

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Pastor says soldier loved serving country

The Associated Press

BENTON, Ky. — A western Kentucky pastor says a soldier who died when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle in Afghanistan believed he was doing his life’s work in the Army.

The Rev. Jonathan Goodman told The Paducah Sun that 27-year-old Spc. Kevin J. Graham of Benton was honored to serve his country.

Graham died Sept. 26 in Kandahar of wounds suffered in the attack by insurgents. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Goodman says Graham joined the Army in 2007, was married in Washington and had a stepson. The pastor says Graham’s parents brought reports of their son to church often and that members of the church would pray for him.

The newspaper said Graham’s parents, Dan and Sandy Graham, live near Fairdealing and were at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Sept. 28 when their son’s body was returned to the United States. Graham has three older brothers.

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Had always wanted to join Army

The Associated Press

Kevin Graham loved muscle cars. It started when he rebuilt a 1939 with his dad and brother, and culminated in his prized vehicle: A 1965 Pontiac Le Mans.

“He loved to drive that thing,” said Graham’s brother, Sean Graham. “That was his pride and joy. He was always working on that thing, always driving and washing it.”

Graham, 27, of Benton, Ky., was killed Sept. 26 when the vehicle in which he was riding hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash.

Sean Graham said his brother always wanted to be a soldier, dressing up in Army gear, playing Army games and eagerly listening to stories of World War II and Vietnam. He enlisted in 2007.

“He had always been that way, and I fully supported his decision to go into the Army,” Sean Graham said. “It took a while for him to make that decision. When he did, I was so proud of him.”

Jonathan Goodman, the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Benton, said Graham was proud to serve his country, noting that the congregation often prayed for him when his parents brought reports to the church.

Graham is survived by his parents and three older brothers, including Sean.

Capitol photos show personal side of fallen troops

By Dean Mosiman / Wisconsin State Journal via AP

MADISON, Wis. — In this memorial, you can see the eyes, smiles and home lives of the Wisconsin soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There's Army Spc. Kevin Graham of Salem, killed in Afghanistan in 2009 at age 27, with his prized 1965 Pontiac LeMans; Army Spc. Robert Cook, killed in Afghanistan in 2004 at age 24, in his Sun Prairie football uniform; Army Pfc. Jacob Gassen of Beaver Dam, killed in Afghanistan in 2010 at age 21, with his family and his pet cat, Tigger, the last time he was home for Christmas.

"Christmas was a big deal to him," said his father, Greg, who remembers his son as a talented musician who sought to treat the war's wounded.

And there are 124 more. Soldiers when they were little. Soldiers playing the guitar. Soldiers goofing around. Soldiers holding a lunker fish.

Called Remembering our Fallen, the memorial is a touring photo display of portraits coupled with personal photographs honoring those who died from wounds suffered in a war zone since September 2001.

The exhibit opened with a reading of the names of those killed, music, prayer and memory at the State Capitol Rotunda on July 8.

It will be at the Capitol through the week and is expected to travel to other hometowns and communities in the state.

"These are not only names on a wall, these are the faces of our fallen," said Vietnam War veteran Joe Campbell, who presided over the exhibit's opening program.

The photo exhibit was created by Patriotic Productions of Omaha, Neb., and sponsored by private, nonprofit Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb.

Dryhootch, an organization that supports veterans and their families with peer mentoring and coffeehouses in Madison, Milwaukee and other locations, put together Sunday's program.

Bill and Evonne Williams of Omaha created Patriotic Productions in 2010 to honor the U.S. military and those who have died.

The Williamses don't come from military families and aren't veterans, but they have four sons in the service, one who has served two tours in Iraq.

From May 2008 to April 2009, the couple organized the Heartland Honor Flights, which took 1,500 Nebraska World War II veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Then, with support of the Omaha World-Herald, they created a photo exhibit in November 2010 to honor 98 service members from Nebraska and western Iowa who had died in a war zone since Sept. 11, 2001.

The couple recognized the emotional impact of the first exhibit and decided to create similar exhibits in other states. The exhibits — now in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin — travel to various locations in those states.

"At lot of people say this is powerful because of the pictures," Bill Williams said. "It means a lot to the families. They are afraid their loved ones will be forgotten."

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