Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Army Sgt. Christopher P. Messer

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Christopher P. Messer, 28, of Petersburg, Fla.

Sgt. Messer was assigned to 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Dec. 27 in Baghdad of wounds received from an improvised explosive device that detonated near him while on dismounted patrol. Also killed was Pfc. Nathaniel A. Given.

Standing near the casket draped in the American flag, family and friends said their final goodbyes to Army Sgt. Christopher Messer Monday.

Burial services were held at Pleasant View Cemetery in Summerfield Township and included a 21-gun salute and a bugler playing "Taps." About 200 family and friends gathered around the family, who sat under a canopy on the cold, breezy winter afternoon.

Sgt. Messer, 28, was killed in action Dec. 27 while serving in Iraq. He died from injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on combat patrol. He was an infantryman assigned to Company D, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment based in Fort Drum, N.Y.

Raised in Dundee Township, he is survived by his wife, Amie, and 2-year-old daughter, Skyle. The family had recently moved to Raisinville Township from Monroe.

Funeral services were held Monday at Bacarella Funeral Home, where the Rev. Harold Raymond, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Ida, officiated. Some family members briefly spoke about Sgt. Messer, including the games they would play while growing up.

"He would laugh without effort ... we all had a lot of fun times together," a cousin said at the funeral home. "Our family was poor in (the sense of) money, but rich in laughter. We have the best memories."

Nearly 400 family, friends and members of local police and sheriff's departments attended the service. The swell of the crowd spilled into the hallway, and many people filled a second room where a speaker system was set up.

Immediate family members, sitting in the front row, wept as "Proud to be an American" and "American Soldier" played during the service.

The Rev. Raymond spoke to the crowd about Sgt. Messer's life rather than his tragic death.

"This doesn't have to be the end. He's full of glory and focused on Jesus Christ," he said. "He now has an eternal relationship with the Lord. Trust that he's with the Lord. Don't leave here without hope. I know you ask why, why this had to happen. I cannot answer that. Only God knows why."

The Rev. Raymond held up a laminated prayer card, containing the words to the "Prayer of Salvation," that Sgt. Messer always kept with him. The pastor read some of the prayer, which proclaims faith in God.

"He read it so many times, it's blurred," the pastor said after reading a portion. "Chris had faith and hope. He did not perish. He now has eternal life with his Savior."

Following the sermon, Army Gen. Thomas Cole spoke about the fallen soldier.

"He was a fun-loving soldier and a natural leader," he said. "He is an American hero who sacrificed everything he loved so we can live in a free country."

Gen. Cole then presented the Messer family with Sgt. Messer's medals: the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Joining the Army in 2003, Sgt. Messer was serving his second tour of duty when he was killed. He had served from February, 2004, to March, 2005, in Samarra, Iraq.

After he completed basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment at Ledward Barracks in Germany. In 2005, he was reassigned to Fort Drum, N.Y.

He attended Ida Public Schools and graduated from Dundee Alternative High School in 1997.

He is the eighth soldier with Monroe County ties to die in the war.

After serving for his country, Sgt. Messer is now serving the Lord, the Rev. Raymond said.

"He has been ushered by angels to the presence of the Lord," he said at the funeral service. "His spirit is alive forever."

Army Sgt. Christopher P. Messer was killed in action on 12/27/06.


Meghann said...

Chris was a wonderful friend, and a great father. He is missed and remembered every day.

Anonymous said...

sgt messer you will be greatly missed. i miss you my friend. i remember when we used to laugh together after dinner or breakfast.
i will always remember you my man.
love you for all what you did to keep this place safe.
sgt pena oscar.

P.S. me and sgt messer served together in oif II from 2004-2005 period.

Anonymous said...

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. You may be gone but you'll forever live with me. Your Freind Stribble

RainbowOps said...

I remember 3 days earlier before his death I was with him and the chaplain having a mini bible study in a beat down room in Iraq. I just want to let everyone know his salvation and faith was solid before his passing. I was there to aid him the day he died. Not a day goes by that I dont think of this honorable man. Go with God Chris, and blessing to your family, I love you brother.

Todd Ferguson

Anonymous said...

Just a late night and one of those nights, just wanted you to know i was thinkin about you,Given,Merchant,Stafford, we had some good times bout 2 in the morning here in south Carolina thought bout the time me and Doc Bailey was on gaurd on top of 152 and you was SOG it was cold as hell early December and me and Doc was on top making hot chocolate with a lil gas heater and you was out in the truck on the road we radio to you what we had amd all you had to say was you two better be watching out up there as cold as you were and you was still being Sgt. and making sure we were doin the right thing Gud Night ill you when get there and tell Given to straighten up. Stribble

Anonymous said...

I remember how good Chris and Amie were together, and how much he loved Skyle. I was there at work the day the came and told Amie he had been killed. I will never forget her crying out. The war became so real for me that day. I will never forget. Rest in Peace Chris.

Unknown said...

I didn't know you well I was only the medic that cared for you but I miss you & remember you always not just today...