Mayville honors fallen soldier with wreath-laying ceremony

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MAYVILLE -- The residents of Mayville laid a wreath in honor of fallen soldier David Johnson Friday afternoon.

Johnson, a 24-year-old First Lieutenant in the Army, was killed Wednesday while serving in Afghanistan. Johnson was from just outside of Mayville, and had been serving in Afghanistan for just five weeks.

Friday's wreath-laying ceremony was organized at the last minute, but word got out quickly in the small city of Mayville.  More than 100 attended the ceremony at the city's War Memorial.

Johnson's pastor led the crowd in prayer.  Before leaving for Afghanistan, Johnson had talked with his pastor about his upcoming deployment. "He said, 'Pastor, I'm not afraid.  I'm not afraid to die.  I'm not afraid to go to this assignment,'" Pastor David Koch said.

A choir from Mayville High School sang the National Anthem at the ceremony, and young men recited the Boy Scout Pledge.  Johnson was an Eagle Scout.

Johnson's father is the publisher of the Dodge County Pionier, which organized Friday's ceremony.  In honor of Johnson, yellow ribbons are being displayed across Mayville, and flags are flying at half staff.

Johnson's family wasn't able to attend the ceremony Friday.  They've flown to Dover Air Force Base where Johnson's body was returned to American soil Friday night.

In a statement, Johnson’s family writes: “We are very proud of our son. He is a hero. He first was a man of God. He has been a strong leader at Mayville High School, at Evangel University and to the men in his unit. David had no fear of adversity. He lived life to the fullest. There are no regrets. He is an American hero. We love him very much and miss him very much.”