Tribute to sacrifice

Tollesboro native Christopher Wright was a few days past his 18th birthday when he enlisted in the Army Rangers, following his dream of a military career.

His stepmother, Michele Cochran, said she asked him why he wanted that life. "He would say, 'If I can go fight so that you guys can be free, it is all worth it,'" she told a reporter. "He was a man of more courage at his age than you can understand."

Army Spc. Wright, 23, performed distinguished service as a squad automatic weapon gunner and earned impressive honors, including the posthumously awarded Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Purple Heart.

Services will be Thursday in Jeffersonville, Ind., for Spc. Wright, who died Aug. 19 after being wounded by small arms fire when insurgents attacked his unit in Konar Province. He was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan and previously served in Iraq. Wright was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment out of Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia.

Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, described Wright as the "epitome of a Ranger — fierce warrior, incredibly competent and dedicated to mission accomplishment."

In his honor, Gov. Steve Beshear ordered state buildings to lower flags from sunrise to sunset Thursday.

We appreciate Spc. Wright's courage, his service and his sacrifice.