Hundreds Say Goodbye To SSG Terry Prater

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

New Tazewell (WVLT) -- Army Staff Sergeant Terry Prater was a soldier, husband, father, and casualty of war. Today in New Tazewell his family received hundreds of friends, and even strangers, wanting to pay their respects to a fallen hero.

Volunteer TV's Jessa Goddard was in Claiborne County this afternoon where she discovered that the loss of Terry Prater was one the entire community felt.

The American Flag flew proudly in honor of the 25 year old who was killed while serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.

A large crowd turned out to remember Prater, but several miles away on the waters of Norris Lake it was a solitary scene. Family members say he accepted that third tour in part to pay for a new boat that he planned to dock on the lake.

Life long residents of the area seemed to agree that the sacrifice Prater made for his country in an unimaginable one.

"I think it's a tragedy to all these young people that have to go over there and sacrifice their life," said Maynardville native Lynn Muncey. "Tennessee has a proud heritage in having fighting men and women in the armed forces, and unfortunately with that comes these types of incidences."

To remember one of the favorite places on earth of a man who served on the other side of it, Terry's family will spread his ashes in the lake. That ceremony will be conducted tomorrow, the private culmination of the public's mourning.

Today at the Claiborne Funeral Home friends and strangers joined Terry's parents, wife and two children for one last public goodbye.

"This community is unlike any other in the state of Tennessee," said State Senator Michael Williams. "These children will be provided for and taken well care of. The one thing I know about this area and the state of Tennessee is we take care of our own.

Six thousand miles away in Iraq violence often erupts, leaving good people dead in it's wake. Tomorrow on Lake Norris, Staff Sergeant Terry Prater will be at peace.


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