OWINGS MILLS — Charles L. Bowman Jr., the only Carroll County soldier killed in thePersian Gulf conflict, was laid to rest Friday -- not at Gettysburg,as his family had hoped, but at a Maryland veterans cemetery.
Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, though, offered nearly the same serenity and surroundings as Gettysburg, where the Bowman family often went on picnics and camping trips when Charles and his siblings were younger.
The family learned last week that Gettysburg National Cemetery had no more room for the nation's military dead.
Bowman, a 20-year-old Army specialist, was killed nearly two weeks ago in southern Iraq when a bomblet exploded in his hand. The North Carroll High School graduate became the sixth Maryland soldier killed in the war.
His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Bowman Sr., received the news from a military officer the day after their son's death. The Manchester couple, who also have a 22-year-old daughter, Laura, and a 17-year-old son, Bill, said they have been inundated with cards and messages offering sympathy.
"People have been so concerned," said Sandra Bowman. "It's been overwhelming."
Their son's funeral at the Baltimore County cemetery was attended by family, friends, community and school officials.
Sen. Larry Haines, R-Carroll, Baltimore, presented the Bowmans with an American flag that had been flown over the State House in Annapolis in honor of Bowman.
Under a clear blue sky, broken only by the flight of a lone plane, Bowman received a full military burial. His flag-draped casket was escorted by six Army soldiers. Anothersoldier presented the family with the flag.
Mr. Bowman held the flag. His wife clutched a framed picture of her son, a yellow rose andminiature flags.
A 21-gun salute and the lonely serenade of "Taps" sounded after a brief sermon by Shelton Smith, pastor of the Churchof the Open Door in Westminster.
Smith did not recall Bowman in his sermon, except to say that the soldier had claimed Christ as his savior several years ago. Smith asked that the mourners pray, too, that their souls will enter heaven.
The pastor told the mourners thatBowman's parents wanted people to know that their son was "with the Lord."
"I'm grateful to tell you," Smith said. "He claimed the Lord Jesus Christ."
Smith noted, too, that Bowman gave his life in a cause he believed in. A cause, Smith said, many at the funeral believed in.
The pastor asked the mourners to pray that they never lose the enthusiasm for the freedom, justice and values -- "in every senseof the word" -- that Bowman had for his mission in the Persian Gulf.
Smith sought to comfort the grieving family.
"We're comforted today by what (Bowman) accomplished in his 20 years of life," Smith said. "We're comforted by God's guidance when we don't know where to turn."
Bowman, who participated in wrestling and track during his high school career, joined the military right after graduation. He hadbeen stationed in Friedburg, Germany, and was deployed to the gulf after Thanksgiving.
His parents said they didn't regret his decision. They were proud of their son.
Bowman's casket was laid at its final resting place near the crest of a hill, which afforded mourners a view of the rolling countryside and groves of trees.