A Valdosta family is making final arrangements to bury their loved one, who died while serving in Iraq. Benjamin Freeman of Valdosta was only 19 when he died in the line of duty this week. It's been a difficult week as you can imagine. Ben's aunt says the entire family is extremely proud of Ben's service for America.
Black ribbons hang to honor the death of 19-year-old Benjamin Freeman. He drowned this week in Iraq while serving as a proud member of the army's 3rd armored cavalry regiment.
"I think he felt just a strong inner urge to pay tribute to the freedom that we enjoy and to answer that all of service," says Sharmon Zammit, aunt.
Ben was a former student at Valdosta High, and family members say he jumped at the opportunity to be an American soldier.
"He enjoyed so much the rally of the troops and the camaraderie that he had with his fellow men."
Ben's aunt says it's been especially tough on her sister, losing her only son.
"She's devastated, its really tough time to lose your only child. So it's really tough for her, but I think the comfort is right now, that this wasn't a senseless death."
The family is very proud of Ben for his service and they hope the community will remember his sacrifice.
"Its important to her to honor him as a hero, for dying for our country and dying for the people of Iraq."
Ben is survived by a wife, his mother, a grandmother and four aunts. His funeral is expected to take place on Monday, and the community is invited to attend. Ben's aunt says she hopes his death will remind everyone that there are many local people still serving in a dangerous Iraq, and those troops need our support and constant prayers.