Flags at the Iowa capitol and across the state flew at half staff today in honor of Army Staff Sergeant Steven Blass. The 27-year-old was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan earlier this month.
This afternoon, Sergeant Blass was remembered at a memorial service in his hometown of Estherville.
The rippling sound of more than 2,000 American flags resounded through the streets of small town Estherville, Iowa.
There was no shortage of tears here as neighbors, friends and family gathered to remember Sgt. Steven Blass.
"Steve always smiled and he was always happy. It's not an exaggeration. He literally was always happy. He always saw the good. He was happy about life," said Adam Arends, a childhood friend of Blass.
Arends has fond memories of this hometown hero. They grew up together, side by side, doing just about everything together.
"We were on the same baseball teams. We took swim lessons together. We played football together," Arends said.
Memories that shed so much light on the kind of person Steven Blass really was, and what he was destined to do in life.
"Getting all dressed up in camouflage and running around. We live on an acreage on the outskirts of town and we would run around. We would be playing war and attack the fort. Those are some of the first memories that came back. He grew up. He knew what he wanted to do and he went and did it and I'm glad he did. I'm grateful he did."
And so Adam, along with hundreds of other well-wishers, came to bid Steven Blass one last goodbye.
Sergeant Blass left behind a wife and a 16 month old son.
He was laid to rest today in Spencer next to his grandfather, who also served in the Army.