LAWTON — Spc. Charles Scott Jirtle's legacy became abundantly clear during his Wednesday funeral, when the wife and parents of the fallen soldier received folded U.S. flags from Brig Gen. Ross E. Ridge, commandant of Fort Sill's School of Artillery.
Ridge then reached for three more flags, drawing gasps from some in the church.
Ridge knelt by Jirtle's three children, handed each a flag, then stood and saluted each child.
The soldier, whom friends and loved ones knew simply as "Scott,” had graduated to the realm of "an American hero” for his service to his country, pastor Trey Smart said.
Jirtle, 29, died with four U.S. Army comrades June 7 in the Kunar Province in Afghanistan when their mortar patrol struck a buried roadside bomb. He left behind his pregnant wife, Savannah, and daughters Cheyenne, 8, Chelsie, 5, and son Jordan, 4.
Moments earlier, onlookers fought back tears as a four-song slide show played on giant overhead screens. Images of Jirtle's childhood, teenage years and military career appeared in full color, evoking memories of a sly smile and Christmases long ago.
The photos told an American story of a child with a jutting jaw and a playful spirit who became a man and then a soldier. One image — of Jirtle kissing the belly of his pregnant wife before his May deployment — brought sobs from mourners at First Baptist East.
Smart said Jirtle's unborn son will soon bear a proud name — Charles Scott Jirtle Jr.
"Our son Charles Scott Jirtle joined the Army because he wanted to take care of his children,” Jirtle's parents, Virginia and Terry Jirtle, said in a statement released this week.
View/sign guestbook for Spc. Charles Scott Jirtle