Marion County Cries For Fallen Hero

The family of the first Mississippi National Guardsmen killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom says they don't know when the fallen soldier will be laid to rest.

James Anderson Chance, III was part of the 890th Engineer Battalion, company "C". The 25-year-old Marion County native died last Thursday when his truck hit a land mine near the Syrian border.

He was supposed to have a hometown burial on Veteran's Day. That didn't happen, but the postponement didn't stop his community from honoring Chance and all other the veterans who protect our country.

Jeremi Ramshur is what James Chance once was. He's aWest Marion High student with dreams of serving his country. On Tuesday the school honored graduate James Chance, who not only served his nation, but gave his life to defend it.

"I feel honored because I have the chance to go and represent those people who are fighting for our country," said Ramshur.

Songs, prayers, and poems comforted those who loved the national guardsman.

Chance's former teacher and friend Aldon Wright said, "He'd always speak in the halls. He had a smile on his face and it seemed like he was always happy."

The service even inspired those who'd never met Army Specialist Chance.

"The young people can learn that it takes dedication to be in the Army, the military, any type of service," said Thomas Nulisch. "It takes dedication."

At times during the ceremony, the pain of the young soldier's death was too much, sending family members into tears. James Chance's family was too upset to speak on camera, but did tell us they were thankful and touched by the community support they've received.