Funeral for New York soldier killed in Afghanistan - My9 New Jersey

Funeral for New York soldier killed in Afghanistan

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Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II (U.S. Army photo) Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II (U.S. Army photo)

ACCORD, N.Y. (AP) -- Inside a skating rink where Shawn Farrell liked to hang out, more than 1,000 mourners filed past the Army sergeant's casket on Thursday; others outside waved flags.

They came to honor and remember the Fort Drum soldier from upstate New York who died when his unit was attacked in Afghanistan last month. His body arrived home in Accord in Ulster County on Wednesday.

At the funeral service at Skate Time, following visitation, the 24-year-old's playful side and public service were celebrated.

Sgt. First Class Michael Mazingo, Farrell's commanding officer, told a story about catching Farrell wearing a Batman belt with his Army uniform, the Times Herald-Record reported.

"I don't know how to tell you this, sergeant, but I'm Batman," Mazingo said Farrell explained to him. The funeral audience burst out laughing.

Farrell's friends wore Batman buttons, belts and bow ties at the service. A Batman symbol made of flowers sat by the casket along with numerous medals and the soldier's boots, helmet and rifles.

"Heroes are not in comic books," said the Rev. James Hallenbeck. "They're all around us. They are our friends, they are our neighbors. They have given their life. Shawny was my hero."

Both the funeral and the burial at nearby Krumville Cemetery were held with full military honors.

The military says Farrell died April 28 from wounds he suffered when his unit was attacked in the Nejrab District of Kapisa Province. Another soldier also was killed.

Farrell served in the 10th Mountain Division, joining the Army in 2008 after graduating from Rondout Valley High School. He is survived by his wife and parents.

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