By Devan Schwartz
Wednesday was a somber, reverential day in Baker City as the community remembered fallen soldier Mabry Anders.
First, a procession brought Anders' body from Gray's West and Co. on Dewey Avenue to St. Francis de Sales Cathedral at First and Church streets.
A steady stream of people arrived as the 10 a.m. service approached, a mixture of Anders' friends and family, along with community members and service members.
Patriot Guard Riders stood at attention, American flags were held fast. A larger flag hung from a Baker City fire truck ladder. The Army Color Guard was prepared to carry the casket up the steep steps.
A service, both religious and accessible, both somber and warm, was given by Father Julian Cassar of St. Francis de Sales. He invoked a history of martyrdom, from Biblical time to 9/11 and all the way to the war in Afghanistan where Spc. Mabry Anders lost his life on Aug. 27.
"Mabry was the 155th service member killed from Oregon and Southwest Washington," said Cassar, who also mentioned overseeing the funerals of victims from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York City.
An especially moving rendition of "Amazing Grace" was performed by Sadie Jean Duncan.
After the funeral, a procession drove from the church to Haines Cemetery, just west of Highway 30. Throughout the 13-mile drive, passersby saluted the family, the hearse, the military and police vehicles.
The burial itself was well-attended and highlighted by the sharp notes of Taps and a helicopter that flew overhead carrying an American flag.
From members of Anders' 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division to friends from high school, the range of this young man's life was well-represented. And it was clear that he will not be forgotten.
Which echoed a sentiment shared by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who represents Baker County in Congress.
In his statement at the funeral, Walden said: "We care about each other -that's what we do in Eastern Oregon communities. We will never forget what he did for us."
Following the graveside service, a public reception took place at the Baker Armory on Campbell Street.