SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A young hero was laid to rest on Wednesday. A 20 year old soldier from Bradenton died during a training exercise earlier this month.
The community gathered to pay their respects.
It was a very moving ceremony here at Sarasota National Cemetery. There wasn’t a dry eye to be found, because this hero’s life was cut short.
The Army was fitting for 20-year-old Nicholas Panipinto. The adventurous young man enjoyed the outdoors, and he joined the military in hopes of one day going to college.
But the Army specialist’s journey ended earlier this month, when his Bradley fighting vehicle flipped over during a training exercise in South Korea.
The community came out in force after his body was flown home and on Wednesday he embarked on his final processional.
His casket was pulled by horses into Sarasota National Cemetery.
“I’m back and some of them don’t make it back,” said Marine Jorge Olazabal.
Veterans like Olazabal felt a need to be here.
“You pay respects for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, whether its now or back then or just pay respects for all these guys you see back here,” said Olazabal.
The young soldier was given a funeral with full military honors. Among the crowd was Vanessa Roach.
She took her young children out of school to teach them a life lesson.
“I hope that my children learn to pay respect to their country, I hope that they learn to always be kind and nice no matter what happens or what somebody is going through, because we don’t know people’s stories,” said Roach.
In his short military career, Panipinto was very decorated, having received numerous awards.
He was the oldest of seven kids.
We Americans enjoy special freedoms thanks to brave young people like Nick.
His loss is a reminder that those freedoms are not free.