It was a time to remember and a time to honor America's military members, but for SGT Jack Davis, it was a time to share memories of his fallen comrade, SPC Ronnie Shelley, with those he died fighting for.
SGT Jack Davis of the 48th Infantry Brigade says, "He was a friend of my son’s and he had been to my house, and they'd go to the river and stuff on Saturday and Sunday."
SPC Shelley was killed by a roadside explosion Saturday night in southwestern Baghdad. Campers at Life Steps Camp listened to SGT Davis speak of his fellow soldier's and friend's bravery.
Diane Howard, Life Steps Camp organizer, says, "They have given so much of themselves. They're so devoted to serving their country and they give far more than I ever could give or these kids ever could give."
For Willie Row, the patriotic message hit close to home. His brother is overseas fighting in the war.
Willie says, "I hope he doesn't get killed over there. I hope I can see him again."
But for many of Willie's friends, the war isn't as real.
SGT Davis says, "I just hope when they grow up they don't have to go through what I went through or what some of their parents and stuff are going through right now."
It's the price for freedom.
Jamelia Wright, a camper, says, "Thank you for fighting for my freedom, soldiers in Iraq!"
It’s a small thank you soldiers say proves their friend Ronnie Shelley did not die in vain.
SPC Shelley's death follows the death of SGT John Frank Thomas, also from Valdosta, who died in a similar incident.
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