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Soldier remembered as brave, beautiful
by Evan White
Batavia, N.Y.--Dozens of American flags held steady by members of the Patriot Guard flowed in the breeze prior to Sgt. Shaina Schmigel's funeral. The U.S. Army paratrooper was killed during a training exercise in May.
Family, friends and complete strangers filed into a Batavia center where the funeral ceremony was held.
"I didn't want to come," said Cheryl McConnell, who describes herself as an aunt of Schmigel.
Each seat in the Michael Tomaszewski Funeral Home was taken, many were standing in the back of the room, some behind television cameras--still others listened to the service in the hallway.
"It was, what a tribute to such a soldier because she was such a hero, a hero in my heart," McConnell added.
The pastor said through conversations with Schmigel's immediate family, the 21-year-old was known as spunky, stubborn, goofy and passionate about her military career.
Beyond the dozens inside, supporters lined the perimeter of the funeral home, and nearby sidewalks to pay their respects. Jennifer Seeman is a military mother from Rochester.
"I have one who is a paratrooper, so this hits close to home," said Seeman.
Schmigel who received full military honors was buried at Evergreen Hill Cemetery in Corfu.