America's Fallen Hero's

Sgt. Jason W. Swiger

Jason Swiger, 24, was a 2000 graduate of South Portland High School who found his calling when he joined the Army, said South Portland High School principal Jeanne Crocker, who said she was told that Swiger was killed in Iraq.

“He walked tall and with great pride,” Crocker said. “He was the epitome of a soldier, a person very proud to serve his country.”

Swiger's death is all the more difficult not only because of the way he died but because of his young age, Monsignor Paul Stefanko said during an hour-long Mass.

“He will be remembered as a man of his word. As a man who stood up for what he believed in. As one who was willing to fight for those beliefs and values,'' Stefanko said. ``As a man who was proud to be serving in the military."

"As a man who befriended many. As a man who was good and kind, a man who died doing a good thing as he reached out to a child in friendship.''

"Although death is very much a part of life, the reality of death is something that hits us harder and certainly in a more personal way when we gather to mourn somebody we've known and loved,'' he said. ``Especially when death is so sudden and tragic, so far away, with loose ends, with no chance to say a proper goodbye, or perhaps a word of thanks.''

Swiger was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. and was killed by a suicide bomber while handing out candy to Iraqi children.