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Service held for Utah soldier killed at Fort Hood


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WEST JORDAN -- Friends, family and Utah dignitaries packed an LDS chapel Saturday to attend a memorial service for a West Jordan soldier who was one of 13 killed last week at Fort Hood, Texas.

Even on one of the snowiest and coldest days in Utah so far this season, nothing was going to stop the family and friends of Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka from saying goodbye to him.

"I'm really proud to be an American citizen. I'm glad my grandson had a chance to serve," said Michael Nemelka Sr., Aaron Nemelka's grandfather.

Nemelka, just 19 years old, dreamed of going to the University of Utah and becoming an architect. Those dreams are now gone.

"It's a difficult moment, when a young man like that was murdered like he was. To see what the family has to go through, it's just unthinkable," said family friend Curtis Stevens.

Gov. Gary Herbert attended the service in West Jordan Saturday afternoon. "It's difficult when it's one of your own comrades in arms that ends up coming in and committing the evil act," he said.

Dozens of Patriot Guard Riders held American flags to welcome the family and friends of Nemelka.

Pfc. Aaron Nemelka
Pfc. Aaron Nemelka

As Nemelka was brought out for one last ride, those who knew him best still couldn't believe he was gone.

"We can't express our thanks for all the love our family received during this difficult time," said Maj. Kevin Nemelka, Aaron's uncle.

Those in attendance didn't seem to mind the cold.

"It was a great ceremony, especially the people who came out and held the flags for us, we thank them. It was a real amazing event," said Michael Nemelka.

Nemelka was laid to rest at the Utah Veterans Memorial Park. He is now one of some 3500 soldiers buried there.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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