Family and friends of a fallen eastern Iowa soldier fought back tears as they remembered the 19-year-old during a visitation at Davenport North High School Wednesday. Private First Class Katie Soenksen died last Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq. Her death came just one month before the teenager was scheduled to return home.
Soenksen’s friends, like Jennifer Holmes, bid her farewell two years ago when she joined the Army. It was supposed to be a temporary separation. No one can believe it’s now permanent. "I started gradually realizing she’s not coming back, didn’t know what to say or what to do, or what to say," says Holmes. Another friend Lindsay Andrews felt the same way, "I’ll never see her again or talk to her, it’s still pretty hard."
Not everyone who attended the memorial was a friend, as one Davenport woman says she came after Soenksen’s commitment to her country caught her attention. Friend Andy Jessen says Soenksen’s dedication to her country was obvious at an early age."Very motivated cadet, always loved her country, loved the military," says Jessen. And she loved helping others. Such memories, friends say, will help them cope with their loss. Both friends and strangers will never forget Katie died doing what she could for her country. Soenksen’s funeral was this morning in Davenport.