“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This well-known phrase was part of the invocation and the lettering on the green T-shirts of Soldiers at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM), Saturday.
Barely over a year after he was killed when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy in Afghanistan, Spc. Chris Harris’ widow, Britt, daughter, Christian, Family and friends gathered at the ASOM to lay a paver in his honor. Community members were also present to pay their respects.
The evening began with three paratroopers jumping from the sky to land at the ASOM. Following them, a series of speakers including retired Gen. Buck Kernan, former Supreme Allied Commander and retired Staff Sgt. Bobby Henline, 82nd Airborne Division, four-tour war veteran, burn survivor and motivational speaker.
“Because we deploy as units, our units wrap their arms around the Family and look after them,” said Kernan. “They’ll come back home, and they’ll take care of those who can no longer take care of their Family. They’ll embrace them. They’ll do everything possible for their fellow Soldier who can no longer look after their Family. We have to do likewise.”
Britt’s story by now is well-known, and not just on Fort Bragg. She was just a few weeks pregnant with Christian, when Harris deployed. Christian was born on St. Patrick’s Day 2018, the day her late father’s unit, part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div., returned from Afghanistan without him. Since then, the unit has done what they can to be there for her and their friend’s child. The photoshoot they’re now known for showcases this.
In keeping with the theme of unit support, Britt unveiled the paver, and members of his unit laid it in its new home. Shortly after, community members and friends stopped to talk with Britt and see baby Christian before moving to the front of the museum to honor Harris’ life.
Britt said she organized this event because she “wanted to try to give back to Gold Star Families and fallen Soldiers.”
When she had asked the ASOM about hosting the event, they told her they could also lay a paver.
“That’s perfect,” she said. “Then Chris’ name is forever in stone. He will always be spoken of, long after I’m gone. His name will always be here.”