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In Tribute

U.S. troops who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

EDITOR'S NOTE: These tributes, published in alphabetical order, were supplied by The Associated Press.

Marine Cpl. Adam McKiski

Adam McKiski's sister, Emily, told the congregation at his funeral that she had a hard time picturing her younger brother in heaven – until she learned what some people believe happens when a Marine goes to heaven.

“He's up there protecting our loved ones in heaven,” Emily McKiski said. “He's guarding the streets of heaven.”

McKiski, 21, of Cherry Valley, Ill., died Aug. 7 in a military vehicle accident outside Fallujah, Iraq. He assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Army Spc. Jonathan Menke

Jonathan Menke played football and was on the track team in high school. As a senior, he was on the 400-meter relay team that qualified for the regional meet.

After having hand surgery his junior year, he did not go out for football his senior year.

Looking for something to occupy his time, he went to tryouts for the school's production of “Alice in Wonderland,” thinking he would do stage work or build sets. Instead, he was given the part of the Mad Hatter.

Friends then encouraged him to try out for “Beauty and the Beast,” and he got the role of Gaston, a singing part. It was his first singing role of any kind, anywhere. His performance stunned all who knew him, including his family.

Menke, 22, of Madison, Ind., was killed Aug. 4 when his patrol was struck by an explosive in Baghdad. He was assigned to Danville, Va.

Marine Cpl. Anthony Mihalo

Anthony Mihalo earned three Purple Hearts before his death but hardly ever talked about them.

“He would be upset with me for talking about that because to him, those were not important wounds,” said his stepfather, Bill Wolfe. “Tony is the type who plays off his injuries like they're nothing.”

Mihalo, 23, of Naperville, Ill., died Aug. 14 in combat in Sargin, Afghanistan. He was on his third combat tour and was assigned to Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Army Sgt. Brian Miller

Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger remembered meeting Brian Miller when he was in Iraq. Miller and fellow troops were working around the clock in a building crowded with broken military vehicles, repairing them.

“Who was right in the middle of this? Staff Sgt. Brian Miller, smiling ear to ear, loving what he was doing,” Umbarger said. “I am so thankful we have men like Staff Sgt. Miller to lead our young soldiers. He has taught them what right looks like.”

Miller, 37, of Pendleton, Ind., was killed Aug. 2 in Abd Allah, Iraq, after the convoy vehicle in which he was riding overturned after swerving to miss an object in the road. He was assigned to Fort Wayne, Ind.

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