T onight more than one hundred family and friends gathered for a funeral at the Auburn United Methodist Church. In his second tour of duty Staff Sgt. Francis Phillips was killed in Afghanistan when an IED bomb exploded on May 4th killing him and four others. Five flags were placed outside Farrell's Funeral Home where the funeral procession started. Each of these flags represent one life lost.
Jim Pasquarette is a Brigadier General with the United States Army. He was in charge of making sure the family is receiving all the help and support they need in the stage of their life. " Frankie Phillips is a a true American modern day hero and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country and so today is a celebration of his life, but again it is also to provide support for a family that is mourning ," says Pasquarette.
Mark Plyter came with Dale Hillegeer and other several members from the Patriot Guard to help say goodbye to Phillips. "He paid the ultimate sacrifice, so did his family, so that we can all be free," says Plyter. "I'm proud of him, it makes you feel good to be a part of something, that somebody fought for my right to be here today and to walk around free here like everybody does. He died for our country," says Hillegeer.
This death is not any easier for his uncle, Joseph Phillips and the rest of his family to come to terms with as they have lost a son, a husband and a father. "That's the way death is. It sneaks up on you and it takes you by surprise," says Phillips.