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GI killed in Iraq laid to rest in Roy
An Army honor guard called his name three times Friday. Three times he didn't answer.
Then, in a star-spangled cemetery, Pfc. Daniel G. Dolan was buried, his sacrifice honored with a silent roll call, a three-gun salute and a bugle rendition of "Taps." Family members wept. A bagpiper played "Amazing Grace." Rain trickled from a sunless sky.
Hundreds gathered in the city cemetery before noon to pay tribute to the Utah soldier, who died last month on a Baghdad street.
Dolan, 19, was shot and killed on Aug. 27 while trying to tip up an armored personnel carrier that was blown on its side by a roadside bomb. Dolan, the fourth Utahn to die in combat this year, had served in Iraq just three months.
"Clearly, he was a patriot," said Major Royce Beal of the U.S. Air Force. "No patriot has given more." Brig. Gen. Walter L. Davis awarded the fallen soldier a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and combat infantry badge for his service overseas.
Although six in 10 Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, the soldier's mother said her son's death hasn't shaken her faith in country or in the war, which to date has claimed the lives of 2,666 U.S. soldiers.
"I will stand behind what my son believes in no matter what," said Fay Dolan. "He was proud to serve his county and there is no way we can be anything but proud." Standing along the cemetery perimeter - outlined with more than 100 American flags - Allen Ermer watched the grieving family lay their child to rest.
The Vietnam veteran had never met Dolan. But he said he would support his fellow soldier the respect that his comrades never received when the returned home.
"We are making up for it with these guys," he said. "He gave his life for his country. We can't do enough to honor him."
Dozens of leather-clad motorcyclists rumbled into the cemetery, flags fluttering from their Harley Davidsons. They stood side-by-side at the cemetery entrance - their heads wrapped in red, white and blue bandanas and their jackets printed with flags - to honor the soldier and ward off a rumored protest that never materialized.
Jan Oleson, a retired school teacher, has frequented the graves of two former students in the city cemetery. Now she will have three to visit.
Oleson remembers Dolan when he was just an eager-to-please redhead in her second-grade class at Midland Elementary in Roy. He always finished his homework and showed teachers "nothing but respect," she said.
The teacher's eyes grew misty as she spoke of plans to place a flower on Dolan's grave for his birthday and other special occasions, just as she has done for her other pupils. She said Dolan's death brings sorrow but also pride.
"This is typical of Dan, "she said. "He was the kind of man who would give his life for his country."