Army Specialist Christopher West, a 26-year-old combat medic born in Dallas and raised in Arlington, was supposed to be back in the U.S. this very month; he was due a year's worth of non-combat duty following his first tour in Iraq, and he planned on spending it at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. But West did not make it home alive: On February 2, West was killed by an improvised explosive device during a combat mission in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. The week of his death, his sister, Arlington's Lauren West, told The Dallas Morning News, “He died doing what he loved.”
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Yesterday, West's family said its final farewells: He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in Section 60 of the cemetery -- the final resting place for soldiers killed in Iraq. According to The Washington Post's account this morning, West's funeral was attended by more than 200 mourners: "Many of the mourners carried long-stemmed yellow roses as they made their way under the gray sky, and after the service, they slowly made their way to the grave and placed the roses atop the coffin." West joined the Army just one year ago. --Robert Wilonsky