NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – It has been nearly ten years since Army Specialist Andre Craig was killed in Iraq. The New Haven native was celebrated on Saturday in a day of honor and remembrance.
Craig’s family and friends gathered at Fort Hale Park to celebrate Craig’s life. Craig, known as “Dre,” was killed fighting in Baghdad on June 25, 2007. His death devastated his family. Debra Russell, Craig’s sister, says it is still hard on them.
“Your mind, your heart, your everything is on him and all the memories come racing back,” said Russell.
Several other members of Craig’s family also served in the military. They say Craig had wanted to serve his country.
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman stopped by the celebration on Saturday to meet with the family and show her support.
“I have to say thank you Andre because I do believe he’s listening and looking down on us,” said Wyman.
“We were honored, honored, so honored, that she acknowledged him,” said Chazaree Parker, Craig’s cousin.
Craig’s ten-year-old daughter was at the celebration. She was only an infant when he died.
Family and friends wore t-shirts made in Craig’s memory. They say the day was bittersweet.
“It’s bitter because he’s not here to celebrate with us and it’s sweet because we’re all here together to celebrate him,” said Parker.
At the end of the gathering everyone came together and released balloons, saying goodbye. However, Craig’s sister says that for her, that was not the true moment of celebrating her brother’s life.
“It will be, I’ll see you again and I understand that you’re telling me it is well, it’s okay to go on,” Russell said.
Sunday would have been Craig’s 34th birthday.