The flags stand tall at the entrance to Congregation MishkanIsrael as hundreds of mourners make their way inside. 32-year-oldArmy Captain Benjamin Sklaver was killed by a suicide bomber onFriday while on foot patrol in an Afghan village.
"He was always looking out for others. He was a very caringindividual with a great heart, great intellect, wicked sense ofhumor," Jake Herrle, a friend, said.
And a tremendous sense of duty. After visiting refugees inUganda, Sklaver set-up a non-profit charity to help get clean waterto Africa's poorest.
"Ben also felt that he was a combatant for peace, he was not acombatant for war and when he came back, he continued to do thatwork and he didn't have to," Herrle said.
And he didn't have to go back to war. Sklaver was deployed toAfghanistan under a stop-loss order.. but we're told, there wereother options.
"Ben said there is but I won't do it because it's the rightthing for me to do to go there," Sen. Joe Lieberman said.
Sklaver's mother is an attorney who worked with Senator JoeLieberman. The soldier's fiancee's father was Lieberman's formerlaw partner.
"What do you say to a family, to a fiancee who've lost abrilliant, courageous, gifted young man?" Lieberman said.
This is the first son of Hamden killed at war since Vietnam andthe community gave him a proper hero's farewell as the processionleft the temple.
It drove past his childhood home blocks away. The police escortthen wound it's way past Old Town Hall, officers saluted as thehearse slowly passed beneath a draped American flag.
All the way down Dixwell, mourners lined the street, ordinarycitizens taking a moment to pay tribute.
Finally at his alma mater, Hamden High, black bunting hungoverhead. The honor guard presented arms and students stood solemnas the hearse passed by.
"He loved his family, he loved his faith, his loved hiscountry," Lieberman said.
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