Video a last glimpse of 19-year-old killed in Iraq
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
THE WOODLANDS — Close friends on Monday remembered Pfc. Cory Kosters as a young man who had a passion for weapons and the character of a hero as they celebrated the soldier’s life.
Family and friends filled the sanctuary at Crossroads Baptist Church, leaving standing room only.
Many of them laughed and cried while watching a video with pictures of Kosters along with his parents, Marlon and Senta Kosters, and his younger brother, Kevin. The presentation offered one last glimpse of the quiet and adventurous young man they knew and loved.
Cory Kosters, 19, was one of six soldiers who died March 5, when an explosive device went off near his unit during combat operations in Samarra, Iraq. The soldiers were assigned to 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C.
Made a sacrificeIn his sermon, Crossroads Pastor Larry York noted that most people are consumed with make-believe heroes created by Hollywood. The reason, he said, is because people long for a real hero in their lives.
”Today we come to honor a real hero,” York said. “Cory Kosters did what real heroes do.”
A real hero, York said, sees what needs to be done and instinctively does the right thing even if it means personal sacrifice
”A real hero like Cory Kosters saw what he needed to do. … On March 5, Cory did not instinctively go on a mission to be a hero, but Cory instinctively went on a mission because it was the right thing to do.
”He was willing to make a sacrifice for me and you,” York said. ”He reminds me of Cory’s hero who did the same thing. His hero was Jesus Christ.”
The Woodlands High School graduate enlisted in August 2005, mostly because he wanted training in special weapons. His motivations were not political, his mother said.
”Cory couldn’t wait to get to Iraq where he genuinely longed to be a part of the action,” Senta Kosters wrote in her son’s funeral program.
John Downs, whose son was Cory Kosters’ best friend, recalled many times when Cory Kosters would come over with his homemade bow and arrow, and how good he was at shooting his target.
”He always had a weapon,” Downs said. “That’s what Cory lived for. That was his passion.”
Touching salutationsThe death row chaplain said he was thankful that Cory Kosters was prepared for death.
”He did everything he needed to do,” Downs said. “He made peace with his Lord many years ago. Cory’s death was an honorable death, and we were very blessed to have had him in our lives.”
Letters and e-mails Cory Kosters wrote to his parents, who sat in the front of the church, were also shared during the service. The missives, sprinkled with wit and touching salutations to his parents, helped lighten the mood.
He talked about basic training and how ”cool” it was to experience the gas chamber, one of many training exercises. He also talked about his missions and the mortars exploding around his base as well as the friendly ribbing he got because of the pink pillow cases his mom had sent.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. James Gilman read e-mails from members of Kosters’ unit. One soldier, who referred to Kosters as the ”quiet new kid from Texas,” said Kosters outperformed his peers and learned quickly. The soldier also recalled how Kosters beat everyone in poker and helped the others resolve computer problems.
Another soldier remembered Kosters as intelligent and entertaining, a ”sterling example” of a soldier.
”He was an inspiration to me and all others,” said the soldier. “I will never forget my hero.”
Following the service, residents lined Research Forest Drive to show their respect for the fallen soldier. Many waved American flags as the funeral procession went by.
Cindy Strawn, who has a 19-year-old son in the Army, displayed her flag from the back of her pickup.
”It just hits home,” Strawn said. “We all support the family and their son and the choices he made.”
Houston National Cemetery, Tuesday, March 20, 2007:
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