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Book reading at library pays tribute to fallen U.S. soldier

POSTED: November 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo/Tia Lynn Lecorchick/

The Dawson County Library invited Rick and Lucy Harris to read excerpts from their book, "Simply American: A Gentle Warrior and His People," which chronicles the life and death of their son, 1st Lt. Noah Harris. Harris was killed in June 2005 on a mission in Iraq.

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Rick and Lucy Harris debuted the book they wrote to honor the memory and service of their son Monday at the Dawson County Library.

  

The couple read excerpts from “Simply American: A Gentle Warrior and His People,” and shared some of the fondest memories of their son Noah Harris, who was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

  

“We are always willing to read our book to others,” Lucy Harris said. “We are so thankful to be given the opportunity to share our son with all of you today.”

  

Added Rick Harris: “We are so proud of our son and his willingness to serve this country. We must always remember what he did.”

  

Noah Harris was killed more than three years ago while on a mission in Iraq to help local police who were under heavy fire from insurgents. He died just seven days before his 24th birthday.

  

The book chronicles Noah Harris’ life and the journey of the loved ones he left behind, who are committed to living out his vision and ideals.

  

On what would have been 1st Lt. Noah Harris’ 24th birthday, June 25, 2005 family, friends and an entire community said goodbye to a true American hero.

  

Yellow ribbons adorned the roadside just south of Jasper through Ellijay and continued along Hwy. 52 to the Harris country cottage in Dawson County, where Noah was born and spent his childhood playing in the creek and exploring the beauty of the mountainous terrain.

  

Noah Harris had been in Iraq for five months when his Humvee was attacked by insurgents, firing rocket-propelled grenades. A second soldier from Georgia, Cpl. William Long of Lilburn was also killed in the attack.

  

Although he lived in Dawson County, Noah Harris attended school in Ellijay where his mother Lucy Harris taught English. In school, he was a good student and an excellent athlete.

  

Offered a football scholarship to Princeton, he decided to attend the University of Georgia so he could stay close to home.

  

It was not until after the attacks of 9/11 that Noah Harris told his father he wanted to join the military. Rick Harris knew of his son’s persistence and drive and recognized he could not fight such strong and compassionate feelings.

  

All proceeds from the book, which costs $15, go to the Noah Harris fund, a nonprofit charity established by Ellijay residents after the soldier’s death.

  

Money from the charity is used to help local residents in crisis and fund student-leadership projects and the annual Noah Harris IDWIC scholarship.

  

IDWIC is an abbreviation for Noah’s lifelong humble, but challenging, mantra.

  

“Noah lived by a philosophy,” Lucy Harris said. “Whether he earned good grades, won the big game, or served his country, he always said, ‘I do what I can.’

  

“May each of us wake up every morning and say what Noah always said, ‘I do what I can.’ We wanted that philosophy to live on, so IDWIC was born.”

  

Her husband said they hope to preserve their son’s “commitment to service, people and community so that his example will continue to inspire the citizens of Georgia and America to stand up for the values that have made this country a beacon of hope, liberty and justice for all.”

  

The University of Georgia Athletic Department has started the Noah Harris Memorial Scholarship, which is aimed at raising $150,000 to establish permanently endowed scholarships in the soldier’s name.

  

“North Georgia has done so much to honor the memory of our son,” Lucy Harris said. “We are so grateful.”

  According to the couple, reading their book to veterans is especially rewarding because they “reflect the values that Noah died for.”
 

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