Final Farewell for Fallen Huntington Soldier

By Megan Trent

September 12, 2010 Updated Sep 12, 2010 at 7:39 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Two fire trucks held the giant red, white, and blue flag in place above the entrance to Huntington North High School. Hundreds of cars filled the parking lot, and hundreds more people lined the streets of Huntington.

It was an outpouring of support for a Huntington soldier killed in action, and also support for the friends and family he leaves behind.

That support was never more evident than on Sunday afternoon, as the body of 26-year-old Army Specialist Chad Clements was laid to rest.

During the funeral, there wasn't an empty seat in the high school auditorium Clements once frequented as a 2002 graduate of Huntington North.

Clements was one of five soldiers killed by a roadside bomb August 30th in Afghanistan. Clements enlisted in February 2009 and arrived in Afghanistan August 9th.

At the service, Clements' mother was presented with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service to his country. His father, also a veteran, passed away in 2001. Clements was also posthumously promoted from Private First Class to Specialist.

Military officials and a representative from Senator Evan Bahy's office also spoke at the funeral.

Displayed behind the casket was a jersey from one of Clements' favorite sports teams - the Pittsburgh Penguins. Friends and family say he also loved NASCAR, the Fourth of July, and serving his country.

Buried with full military honors, his body was also escorted to Mount Calvary Cemetery in Huntington by the Patriot Guard Riders.

Clements' family has decided to place Chad's dog tags on display during an upcoming memorial in Huntington. the Cost of Freedom display coming to Hier's Park on September 16th displays the dog tags of men and women who have died while serving their country since the Vietnam War. It's part of a larger American Veterans Traveling Tribute that also includes a scaled replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall located in Washington D.C. Other memorials honoring veterans from other conflicts will also be on display.

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