Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Army Spc. Aaron J. Walker

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Aaron J. Walker, 23, of Harker Heights, Texas

Spc. Walker was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany; died Sept. 18, 2007 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire during combat operations.

Killeen Daily Herald -- Aaron J. Walker had many talents, but singing wasn't necessarily one of them.

His sister, Andee, was playing the piano one day and singing "I Can Only Imagine." Aaron, or A.J., was listening and asked his little sister to teach him the song.

Andee showed him how to play the song, and he began to play and sing. When A.J. got to the chorus of the song, he beat on the piano keys like he was playing the drums and belted out the lyrics.

It didn't sound so good, she said with a smile. While the music was not great, A.J.'s heart was in it.

"I wish I could hear him sing again," Andee said.

Spc. Aaron J. Walker died Tuesday in southern Baghdad, Iraq, when his unit came under small-arms fire, according to the Defense Department. The 23-year-old Harker Heights resident was serving with the 1st Armored Division's 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany.

He leaves behind his wife of a little more than a year, Amber; Darryl and Annie, his mother and father; Andee; and a younger brother, Alex.

Family and friends gathered at Grace Christian Center in Killeen – Darryl and Annie are youth pastors – on Saturday afternoon for a memorial service in honor of A.J. His funeral service is set for Thursday in Peoria, Ariz., which is near Phoenix.

Andee sang a portion of "I Can Only Imagine" during a eulogy for her big brother and said she would only imagine what kind of passion A.J. had for the angels he was singing with in heaven.

She said he has the honorable position of being A.J.'s sister.

"I wish you would not pity me, but envy me," she told the people sitting before her.

A.J. was defined by his passion, humility, respect, honor, and most of all, love, Alex said. If there was one thing Alex learned from his brother, it was to love.

"I only pray I can live the way A.J. loved," he said.

A.J. had a huge heart and gave in life and in death, said his uncle, Ron Walker.

"He gave for his family, he gave for his friends, he gave for his country, and he gave for the Lord. He gave for people he didn't know, and he just gave," Ron said. "He just gave."

Another of A.J's uncles, John McLaughlin, said he was grateful for who his nephew was and "who he wanted all of us to be." A.J. was smart, strong and unwavering in his beliefs, John said, and very insightful for a 23-year-old.

"I want to be a better husband, father and Christian knowing he's in heaven looking down on me," John said.

"I want to be better because I know you want that for me."

Darryl talked about A.J.'s wife, Amber, saying there was "no more perfect spouse for our son."

A.J. and Amber were both church youth leaders when the Walkers lived in Arkansas. They continued to keep in contact when the family moved to Harker Heights in 2004, and were married in July 2006.

A.J. deployed to Iraq last month.

The last few days have been the hardest of Darryl's life, he said. When the family first heard the news of A.J.'s death, they huddled together on the couch, unable to sleep.

When the sun came up that next morning, Annie pointed out that the Earth moves, but the sky stays the same. The sun they saw rising in the sky was the same sun A.J. saw in Iraq on his last day.

It's the same sun that connects us, Darryl said.

The Walkers will get through A.J.'s loss one day at a time – sunrise to sunrise, Darryl said.

"Our hearts are broken, but our faith is not shaken," he said.

"I know things will never be normal again, but we will redefine normal."

The family knows that one day they will see him again, Darryl said, "but this day we miss him."

"A.J.," he said, closing his eyes and choking back tears. "I love you, my beautiful boy. We're gonna get through this. We're gonna get through this."

Army Spc. Aaron J. Walker was killed in action on 9/18/07.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is my son, in whom I am well pleased. He is my hero!
I love you son,
Dad