Memorial held for American soldier killed in Afghanistan 12 years ago

Pinellas County

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) — A memorial service honoring the life of a soldier killed while fighting in Afghanistan was held for Labor Day morning.

His family has come in from around the country to remember the father of two.

“He’s our hero, always will be,” said Andy Alexopoulos, father-in-law to Sgt. Randy Haney. “I made a commitment to his kids at the funeral that I would never let them forget the hero their father was.”

Haney served three overseas tours: one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. His life was taken while on his final tour in Afghanistan 12 years ago.

This holiday weekend, his family is planning on honoring his life and service. Haney’s widow and son are coming in from out of state for the ceremony. While they’re in town, Alexopoulos plans on sharing stories with his grandson about his dad.

“I want him to know who his father was, and understand that he played a big part in our freedom,” he said. “He spilled his blood for his family, for our country, and that’s how we want to honor him again.”

Haney joined the Army after visiting the 9/11 memorial in New York City, realizing he wanted to give back.

Just a couple of weeks after the United States retreated from Afghanistan, his family said politics aside, they’re glad the war is over.

“There’s never a right time, the way it happened,” Alexopoulos said. “I’m glad it’s over. None of our kids will have to die and go there for this war.”

The memorial service for Haney is at Veterans Memorial Marina Park at 11 a.m. The family said anyone is welcome to come.

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