NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBSDFW.COM) – Another North Texas family is left grief-stricken by the war in Afghanistan.
Army Specialist Joseph Cemper, 21, died April 16, 2011 in a suicide bombing.
He was on his first deployment overseas.
The soldier leaves behind his parents, three sisters, two brothers, a fiancé and an infant son.
When the Cemper family looks at little Liam, they see in the baby a reflection of his father. “He sleeps like Joseph does,” his mother Angela Cemper said, “with his mouth open.”
The soldier died the day after Liam turned one month old. His family said Cemper wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the Army.
“That’s what he wanted to do, that’s what he always wanted to do,” his mother said.
“He would tell me he was going to finish the job that I started,” said his father Sgt. First Class Eugene Cemper, “Before he left, he said he was going to get a bronze star… he got it.”
Cemper’s two brothers are also in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Beyond the uniform, the soldier was a father, son, brother and prom king. “When you met him you just instantly knew you liked him. He had an awesome smile and bright eyes,” his mother recalled lovingly, “and he was just compassionate, and kind and funny and competitive and it was just all rolled into one. It was like it constantly burst out of his body all the time.”
While his family is now coping with a great loss, they know he lived and died by the saying he held dear, a saying they have placed in a scrapbook that his son will someday be able to see.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say that I used everything that You gave me.”
Army Specialist Cemper will be laid to rest in Nebraska. A fund has been established at Wells Fargo to benefit his son under the name Liam Cemper.