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
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,