FORT HOOD, Texas (FOX44) – The family of a Fort Hood soldier killed in Afghanistan last week is honoring the sacrifice he made for our independence.
Sergeant James Johnston died in combat on June 25.
They are remembering him as a Texan – even though he graduated from high school in New York. His family says he actually lived in Texas for most of his life. They are remembering him as a man who never met a stranger.
The father, mother, and wife of Sgt. James Johnston, also known as “Jamie,” can’t help but smile when talking about him.
“He had so much love that exuded from him. He didn’t have to tell you he loved you. I can’t quantify how much pride I have for him, and what he’s done and what he sacrificed,” said Johnston’s father, Richard Johnston.
Sgt. Johnston leaves behind his wife Krista, who is expecting their first child in November, as well as his mother and father. They have received a huge outpouring of support and too many messages of love to count – some even from strangers.
“Hearing about his reputation and the man that he was, we have received messages about how it has affected them,” said Meghan Billiot, Johnston’s mother. “[This is] The only thing that has gotten us through the last couple of days.”
The baby registry the couple had at Target has been bought out by people from all over. Krista says they plan to name the baby girl Jamie.
“She will grow up knowing what a hero he was and how much he means to me,” Krista says.
“She’ll grow up knowing her dad. She’ll just never be able to touch him,” Richard says.
Sgt. Johnston was a member of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal group at Fort Hood. The family says they have received the largest amount of love from the team.
The State of New York also lowered its flags to half-staff last Friday.
Governor Greg Abbott’s Office says Texas did the same at the State Capitol as well as Harris, Galveston, and Smith Counties.
FOX44 News has learned the flags will be lowered in Bell County on Tuesday.
“It’s not that James is any more special or important than anybody else. It’s that somebody gave their life for our freedom. This is a special situation,” Billiot says.
They are looking forward to celebrating Jamie’s life on Thursday, July 4, with a cookout and by wearing his favorite clothing – Hawaiian shirts.
“This isn’t just America’s Independence Day. It’s Sergeant James Johnston’s Independence Day.”
The family says they would love to see pictures of everyone in their Hawaiian shirt to honor Sgt. Johnston.
Funeral services have not been arranged yet, but they will be broadcasted live.
FOX44 will have those details when they become available.