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Region pays tribute to fallen soldier

LAKE GEORGE - Citizens of the region paid respects Monday to the life, service and ultimate sacrifice of Army Specialist Benjamin Osborn, as a ceremonial motorcade carried his body through Queensbury and Lake George where the soldier was raised and schooled.

A 2002 graduate of Lake George and until recently a resident of North Queensbury, Osborn was killed in combat June 15 in Afghanistan - the result of an ambush.

Throughout the 28-mile route, many hundreds of citizens congregated along the roadways, waving flags, holding signs paying tribute, and saluting as the hearse and Osborn family members and friends passed by in the solemn procession.

His body was flown in by charter jet to Warren County's Floyd Bennett airport Monday morning. The plane arrived at about 9:15 a.m. and members of a military honor guard carried his flag-draped casket between rows of American flags held high by members of the regional Patriot Guard motorcycle group.

Kristen Lace of Long Lake and her sisters Karrah Gereau and Kate Slentz, cousins of Osborn, broke into sobs as they watched the casket being lowered from the jet. We're so proud of him and his service to the nation," she said. "We're going to miss him so much - he gave the best hugs."

Bob McAvoy of Glens Falls watched as the casket was seemingly engulfed by dozens of American flags in the patriotic display.

"Ben Osborn gave everything for us, so we need to be here for him and his family," McAvoy said.

Family members and friends gathered in a cordoned-off area at the airport, receiving Ben's body, as state, federal, county and local officials paid their respects. Among them were Warren County supervisors Frank McCoy of Lake George, Ron Conover of Bolton, Red Pitkin of Thurman, Kevin Geraghty of Warrensburg, Frank Thomas of Stony Creek, and Dan Stec, Fred Champagne and Dave Strainer of Queensbury. They were joined by Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais, state Sen. Betty Little, and U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy of Glens Falls.

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