Funeral service today for N.J. soldier killed in Iraq

PALMYRA, N.J. - August 25, 2010

Last week, the body of Army Specialist Jamal Rhett was flown back to Dover Air Force Base. The 24-year-old medic was killed by a roadside bombing in Iraq.

The funeral service began at 10:00 this morning at Evergreen Baptist Church, located on West 3rd Street in Palmyra, New Jersey.

Last week, Action News spoke with the mother of Specialist Jamal Rhett. Her voice straining with emotion, Michelle Watson described the moment when two military men came to her door to tell her that her son had died in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

"Before they got to the door I knew it wasn't good," Watson said. "I just kept saying, 'No, no, no, no, no.'"

Rhett was on his third tour of duty. He was the product of the Burlington Public Schools system and the two women who adored him: his mother and his grandmother. When his grandmother died five and a half years ago, Rhett, an only child, made the commitment to serve in her honor.

"He decided to join the military. I said, 'Son, you don't have to do this.' He said, 'I know, but I want to.'"

Like any mother, she was hesitant to see her son go and so happy whenever he returned.

Exactly two years ago Action News was at Philadelphia International Airport when Rhett came home on temporary leave.

Michelle Watson will forever be proud of her son; now it's her faith that will help her move forward.

"As I've learned in my life and place of worship... The greatest thing a man can do is lay down is life for his friends."

Michelle Watson told us that she is numb but takes great solace in the words of others who describe her son as a good guy, well-mannered, and well-liked.

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