First SF soldier killed in Iraq buriedBy Staff
The first San Francisco soldier killed in Iraq since fighting began more than three years ago was laid to rest during a tearful ceremony Tuesday.
Family and friends gathered at Golden Gate National Cemetery, just south of San Francisco, to bury 21-year-old Army Cpl. Christopher D. Rose, who died late last month when a roadside bomb exploded during a routine patrol in Baghdad.
Rose's parents, Rudy and Margaret Rose, sprinkled their son's flag-draped casket with holy water as more than 100 mourners looked on.
A military honor guard fired a 21-gun salute over Rose's grave while a bugler played "Taps," its sad strains echoing off the rows of identical white tombstones for fallen soldiers lining the cemetery grounds.
"We're very proud of him," said his uncle, Benito Rose of Vallejo. "He's our hero."
Rose's death was the first combat fatality among soldiers from San Francisco, known for its vigorous opposition to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.
San Francisco supervisors earlier this year passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush for leading the United States into war in Iraq. In November, voters approved a ballot measure opposing military recruiters from the city's public schools.
Much smaller nearby cities have lost more soldiers in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion.
Tracy, a city of 72,000, has seen five of its soldiers killed, while Modesto, with a population of 200,000, has buried four soldiers, according to the Department of Defense. San Francisco, by contrast, has a population of about 750,000.
California has seen more combat deaths in Iraq than any other state, with 263 soldiers killed. Texas has had the second-highest number of Iraq casualties, with 228 soldiers killed.
Ginabel Ruiz remembered her cousin as a "peacemaker" with a shiny grin who was devoted to his parents and two older sisters.
Rose, a Vallejo native who grew up in San Francisco, was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. The third-generation military man left for Iraq in December for his first tour of duty. He was scheduled to return home in October.
Relatives said Rose suffered injuries to his arm from another roadside bomb just a month before his death. His father, Rudy Rose, said his son returned to patrol even though he still was recovering from those injuries because he was worried about his fellow soldiers.
Copyright ©2006 Associated Press. Published 07/11/2006.