Family of Fallen Soldier Gives Words of Thanks

Courtesy: The Daily Egyptian
Courtesy: The Daily Egyptian

Family of Fallen Soldier Gives Words of Thanks
By: Lauren Keith  

ANNA, IL --"When that uniform walks up to your doorstep, you just know you've lost your soldier.  When you hear that, you feel like you lost part of your soul," said Randy Romines, the father of fallen solider Sgt. Brian Romines of Anna.

The family of fallen soldier Sgt. Brian Romines has a message, they say, Americans should put their support behind our troops.  It's a message coming as the family is not only dealing with the loss of their son and brother, but now, word that a Kansas hate group might cause trouble at his funeral.

Still, Brian Romines' parents and siblings aren't even thinking about the possibility of protests instead, they're focusing all of their attention on giving Brian a funeral, they hope, will make all Americans proud.

"Brian died a proud soldier.  He was proud of his country.  He had a very tough job.  He was a gunner. He was one of the first ones out, most of the time.  I can't imagine being 20 years old and having that type of dedication," said Randy Romines, Brian's father.

It’s that kind of dedication that led Sgt. Brian Romines to even enlist in the Army National Guard, but Brian also had a very special influence, his older brother, Randall, who's also a soldier in the Army National Guard.

"Brian always looked up to his older brother. Randalll knew that and he always took care of little brother," said Randy Romines.

Even in Brian's death, Randall continued his role as big brother.  Randall voluntarily flew out toDelaware , picked up his brother’s body, and then, escorted him back to Southern Illinois “It meant a lot to me to bring him home," said Randall.

The support of friends and the community also means a lot to the Romines family.  Over the last two weeks, Randy’s coworkers at the Vienna Correctional Center have been mowing his lawn, giving the family more time to prepare for Brian’s funeral.

"It's more about respect and honor for him right now for what he did for the country, and after the funeral, I'll sit down with the family and I'll have my time," said Randall.

He admits, as a soldier himself and as Brian's older brother, it's frustrating for him to hear anti-war protests could occur, near his brother's final resting place.  "If anything like that does happen, I'd say they're in the wrong part of the country," said Randall.

The Romines family reminds anyone attending Brian's funeral to remember it's purpose, to pay tribute to the life of Sgt. Romines. 

Also, the group of 80 motorcycle riders and family friends, who rode in the motorcade, will also be at the graveside memorial service on Saturday.  The group will allow enough space between their bikes to represent the "loss of a fallen rider."

Finally, the Romines family has set up a memorial fund at the Banterra Bank in Vienna.  Money in the memorial fund will go towards other military families dealing with the loss of a son or daughter in the war, and will go in Brian’s name.