The events of Niger and the deaths of four brave American Patriots who were serving their country; giving the ultimate sacrifice for America abroad is truly a tragedy of epic proportions.
Men and women who serve the interests of the United States of America in uniform both at home and abroad deserve the utmost respect and honor for their courage, loyalty, and oftentimes ultimate price given in order to ensure that our nation's interests are protected all across God's Green Earth.
In Florida, around 1,200 mourners could be seen leaving the the church after Saturday's service gave a portrait of the life of brave Patriot 25 year old Sgt. La David Johnson, was joined on stage by several photographs of the other men who gave their lives alongside him.
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Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia, were killed along with La David Johnson in Niger.
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The four lost their lives back in October 4th in Niger after they were brutally attacked by militants tied to the Islamic State in the line of duty; and gave the ultimate sacrifice for their nation's interests.
"We have to remember that one thing: that it wasn't just one soldier who lost his life," said Berchel Davis, a retired police officer who has six children in the military.
Davis said the preacher and Rep. Frederica Wilson both made that a part of their talks."That was a good gesture on everyone's part."
Johnson's family had asked that reporters remain outside for the service to respect the emotional privacy of the soldier's families.
Johnson's pregnant widow, Myeshia, walked holding the arm of an Army officer as she led her two young children and her family, dressed in white, into the Christ the Rock Community Church in suburban Fort Lauderdale.
A church hymn, "I'm Yours", could be heard coming from inside as God most certainly has embraced these brave patriots who gave their lives in this realm of the universe to embrace the heavenly father into the next.
Johnson's sister, Angela Ghent, said after the service that "it don't feel real" that her brother was killed.
"It hasn't hit me yet, I haven't had time to grieve," said Ghent, who last spoke to her brother a few weeks before he died.
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She said that she was glad mourners had the chance to hear about her brother's love for bikes and cars, not just his military service, and understand that he was a beautiful person.
Family and friends told the team of Johnson's entire life, and his stories of success in order to give a personal glimpse into what he accomplished in life.
That began with explaining his hardships growing up.
His mother died when he was 5 and he was raised by his aunt who wanted the best for him.
That's when his family enrolled him in “5000 Role Models”, a project which began back in 1993 where African-American boys are paired with mentors who prepare them for college, vocational schools, or the military.
"We teach them to be a good man, a good husband and a good father. Sgt. Johnson typified all of those characteristics," said mourner Carlton Crawl, a public school consultant who is one of the program's mentors and a friend of the family.
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Dating back to 2013, a year before he chose to enlist, Johnson was featured in a local television newscast for his ability to do bicycle tricks, earning the nickname "Wheelie King." He said he learned his tricks by going slow.
"Once you feel comfortable, you could just ride all day," he told the interviewer.
Footage of that broadcast aired as those closest to Johnson were filled with tears of sorrow and joy as well as laugher.
Sgt. Johnson's wife is pregnant right now with their next daughter, who will be named La’shee.
She will join the couple's other children, namely their 6-year-old daughter, Ah'Leeysa, and 2-year-old son, La David Jr. in growing up without their dad; a terribly travesty that no child should have to endure.
An online fundraiser through <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/sgt-la-david-johnson-scholarship">GoFundMe</a> has raised more than $600,000 to pay for the children's education and help ensure they will make it through college when that day comes.
The families have all suffered great losses, but most of them understand that their loved ones knew the risks and valiantly served without fear and with honor regardless.
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A flag-covered coffin holding Johnson's remains was carried into South Florida's Christ The Rock Church for a private funeral service Saturday morning.
American flags flew at half-staff across the Sunshine State as Johnson's body was then taken to Hollywood Memorial Gardens where he was buried.
One of the Gold Star families shared a call from President Trump, which they claimed was touching and personal.
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The image of the mourning lover of Sgt. Johnson is one that will echo into our memories and make us appreciate those who serve so we don't have to; and truly honor their sacrifice when it comes to them giving their lives in the name of Liberty.
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