Body Of An Eastern Kentucky Native Killed In Iraq Returns Home

By: Heather Haley Email
By: Heather Haley Email

An emotional reception for an Eastern Kentucky native killed in Iraq.

The body of Staff Sergeant Terry Prater was flown into Knoxville Tennessee Friday morning where family and friends were able to welcome him home one last time.

Prater spent half of his 25 years of life in Floyd County then he moved to Claiborne County Tennessee where he joined the Army. Prater's family says during his first tour in Iraq, he was injured and received a Purple Heart. Now loved ones are remembering a soldier who lost his life fighting for our country.

It was an emotional morning at the airport in Knoxville Tennessee as the wife, children, friends, and family of Staff Sergeant Terry Prater welcomed him home one last time. His flag draped casket was moved from a private jet as honor guards and even airport onlookers stopped to pay their respect to a soldier who served in Iraq.

"It's about our freedom in this nation, its about our ability to live our lives the way we want to live them, it's about our ability to even stand here today and even speak freely," said Master Sergeant Don Blalock.

A nearly 50 mile funeral procession traveled from Knoxville to New Tazewell where Prater lived with his wife and two young children. A patriotic group of motorcyclists showed their support and rode with the procession.

"We do want to show the respect and the honor for the family and the soldier because he was a true American hero," said Duane Romine with the East Ky. Patriot Guard Riders.

Family members say he died fighting for his country, something they say he would do all over again.

"He threw himself on a grenade to protect his buddies and that's one hell of a brave man, that's one hell of a good hero and he needs all the honors he can get," said Deborah McKay with the Knoxville Patriot Guard Riders.

Prater's family will receive friends on Sunday afternoon from 3 until 7 at Claiborne Funeral Home in Claiborne County Tennessee and a memorial service will follow. On Monday at 11 am, there will be a funeral procession from the funeral home to Norris Lake to scatter Staff Sergeant Prater's ashes at his favorite fishing spot. Family members say they also hope to have a memorial service in Prestonsburg where Prater's father and extended family lives.

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