Ft. Hood Victim Laid to Rest

Pfc. Michael Pearson one of 13 victims of Fort Hood mass shooting

By BJ Lutz
|  Saturday, Nov 14, 2009  |  Updated 7:48 PM CDT
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Fort Hood Massacre Takes Midwestern Toll

Pfc. Michael Pearson

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Soldier's Casket Inspires ROTC Cadets

Seeing Michael Pearson's casket carried particular significance for a group of Air Force ROTC cadets from Bolingbrook.
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 A lone electric guitarist played a mournful rendition of ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' as funeral services began for a suburban Chicago man killed in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

On Saturday, more than 250 family and friends remembered Pfc. Michael Pearson, 22, of Bolingbrook, as a courageous person, quiet observer and naturally talented musician who shared his love of guitar with all.

Pearson's casket, draped by an American flag, was adorned with flowers at the Joliet funeral home. A video screen flashed pictures of Pearson. He was buried at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois.

His commanding officer, Capt. James Pence and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn were among those honoring Pearson. 

"I did not have the honor of knowing Michael in life. God did not give him a long life, chronologically, but he gave him a life of huge purpose," Gov. Quinn said, then invoking the memory of the 16th president.  "Abraham Lincoln would be proud. " 

Pearson was among 13 killed at the Texas Army base Nov. 5 when Maj. Nidal Hassan opened fire. Army officials say Pearson was shot while waiting in line for a booster shot. He died during surgery for his wounds. He is survived by two brothers, Jason and Chris Craig, and a sister Julie Craig along with his parents.

On Thursday, thousands of people lined the streets in Bolingbrook as his casket was escorted past his home and his alma mater

Private Francheska Velez,  a 21-year-old from Chicago who was pregnant, also died in the rampage. Her services are pending.

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