PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) - It may be difficult to imagine your own funeral.
But Private First Class Andy Krippner, who was recently killed in Afghanistan, did just that.
“Let me guess the setting. I lay here surrounded by family,” he wrote in a letter.
Krippner probably underestimated just how many people would surround him. At his funeral Friday afternoon Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano filled to capacity with people standing in the aisles to attend the service.
“I knew he impacted a lot of lives, but I had no idea until you actually get to see all the people stand up behind the pews.“ said Nolan Killingsworth, his best friend.
Honoring Krippner’s request, Killingsworth read the letter aloud. It contained his friend’s final wish for family and friends. “Take care of the ones I love. Look around. Who are these individuals? They are you. The people who helped me become the man I was,” Krippner wrote.
Barely 20 years old, Krippner died last month, just six weeks after being deployed to Afghanistan.
But at his funeral, his family focused on his life, sharing stories of his strong faith in God and his sense of humor.
Their stories often sent ripples of laughter through the audience of mourners. “I think that’s what he wanted. I think he might have wanted more laughter,” said Dylan Maxwell, a former classmate. “He was quite the comedian. So I figured he would have wanted to go out the way he lived,” said James Mitchell, another friend.
Krippner’s parents say they find strength in their knowledge their son is now in heaven, probably looking down and probably laughing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the headline, Krippner was incorrectly identified as a soldier from Plano. He is from Garland.