Amite County soldier killed in Afghanistan laid to rest

Hundreds of family, friends and military

personnel turned out Saturday for the funeral of Sgt. Taurean T.

Harris to remember a man who was unfailing positive throughout his


Some who attended his funeral at the Homochitto Baptist

Association wore T-shirts that showed a smiling Harris. That smile

was remembered often during the service.

The Rev. Londie Weatherspoon, of West Jerusalem Baptist Church,

told mourners that he baptized a smiling Harris.

"I had to tell him to shut his mouth or I'd drown him," said

Weatherspoon, drawing laughter from the otherwise somber crowd.

And Brig. Gen. Jeffery Foley of Fort Gordon, Ga., where Harris

was based before being shipped to Afghanistan, said he thought he

could tell that Harris was holding back a smile while posing for a

military portrait displayed by his casket.

"He was able to bring joy to whatever we would do, no matter

the task," said Foley, echoing the comments of those who served

with Harris.

No one at the service was sure where Harris picked up his smile.

But he carried it with him through childhood in Liberty, his time

at Amite County High School, where he served as Junior ROTC squad

leader, and into his career with the Army.

"Taurean was such a fun-loving, kind, honorable person. And

it's sad to lose someone that outstanding," former neighbor and

classmate Lashonya "Shon" Harris told the Enterprise-Journal of

McComb after the service.

Harris was killed Aug. 2 in Kala Gush, Afghanistan. The military

initially reported that he was killed by a roadside bomb. But

officials recently told his family he was killed during a shootout

after his unit was ambushed. He was killed while returning gunfire.

Harris shipped out with the 202nd Military Intelligence

Battalion, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade in December and was

scheduled to return home next March.

Harris is at least the 56th military member with close ties to

Mississippi to die in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and the

second from Afghanistan.

Foley presented Harris' mother, Yolanda Wagner, with the Bronze

Star and Purple Heart medals awarded to the soldier.

"He is exactly the type of soldier that makes me so proud to

wear this uniform," Foley said.


Information from: Enterprise-Journal,