The family of an Ohio soldier killed in Afghanistan said that his passion for his country was unwavering.
First Sgt. Russell Bell was killed by an improvised explosive device just weeks before he was scheduled to return home.
Bell, 37, had served 16 years in the Army and was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan.
Barb Bradley, Bell’s aunt, said that Bell loved his country so much that he chose to get married on Sept. 11.
“He felt he was honoring the United State by choosing that date and showing people we will survive,” Bradley said.
Bell’s parents traveled to Dover to greet their son’s remains. His father said that he has not yet found the courage to read a letter his son left behind.
“We all love and miss him dearly,” said Bell’s father, who lives in Texas. “You can’t imagine the pain that we’re suffering right now.”
Bell’s family said that they believed Bell found a way to say goodbye.
“Russell’s mother, Cindy, looked out the back of the bus just as the van carrying his remains drove by, and a rainbow appeared in the sky,” Bradley said. “It brightened, and just as quickly as it brightened, it vanished.”
Family members said that Bell’s service and sacrifice would never be forgotten.
Bell gave his family a teddy bear after every tour of duty that he served. Service members presented Bell’s 1-year-old son with a bear when his father’s remains were returned to the U.S.
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