Youngsville, N.C. — Youngsville mother Patti Elliott remembers Sept. 11, 2001 as if it were yesterday. It was the day her 12-year-old son, Lucas, decided to be a soldier.
Nearly a decade later, two months before the 10-year commemoration of Sept. 11 and just two days before Lucas Elliott's 22nd birthday, he was killed by an improvised explosive device in southern Iraq.
"In July, when I got that phone call from 1st Sgt. Hinton, I broke down," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jay Thomas. "It's hard to lose a soldier like that."
At a memorial service in Cary on Saturday, Lucas Elliott's family, friends and fellow soldiers remembered Elliott as a "soldier's soldier," a man who enlisted for all the right reasons – to prevent another attack like Sept. 11.
"Ten years later, it saddens me to see some of the fever pitch that Americans don't seem to be as patriotic as they were," Patti Elliott said. "Three hundred sixty-five days a year we need to remember those kids who are putting their lives on the line."
Lucas Elliott joined the Army Reserve as a military police specialist when he turned 18, his mother said. In 2009, he volunteered to do a tour of duty in Iraq. He volunteered for a second tour in May, but never made it home.
He was "courageous, brave, very kind," said team leader Spc. Adam Momeyer. "He set the example, the way every soldier should act in the U.S. military. He led by that example (of) always doing the right things."
Lucas Elliott was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. in July.