Memorial Day Tribute to Local Vet

May 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Steven Packer's family added a Memorial Day tribute to his grave as they paid their respects. Packer's sister said it's not fair that her baby daughter will never really meet her uncle, the war hero. Danielle Packer said: "I really wanted her to get to know him. It's hard that he'll never see her and she'll never see him."

Just one year ago, the Army Sergeant was killed by a roadside bomb during his third tour of duty in Iraq. Christopher Packer still wears his little brother's dog tags. He said at just 23-years-old Steven was taken way before his time. Christopher Packer said: "We had a lot of fun together. It's just hard. I still don't even feel like it's real. I still feel like he's over there in Iraq and I'm waiting for a phone call."

The Packer's joined dozens of other families whose loved ones also made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

1,400 flags surrounded the annual Memorial Day tribute at Fresno Memorial Gardens where veterans and politicians paid tribute. Each and every flag represents a veteran laid to rest here.

Congressman Jim Costa said:" By answering the call of duty with valor they have set a standard of courage and idealism that inspires all of us." For the Packers, though, everyday is Memorial Day.

His big brother hopes Steven's sacrifice will always be remembered. Christopher Packer said: "Don't forget about him. Don't forget about what he did for this country. Keep him in your heart. Keep him in your prayers."

Steven Packer was supposed to complete his military service in November of 2007. But his tour of duty was extended. He died five months later.


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