Specialist Mark Downer Memorialized at Northside
by DREW BOLLEA Staff Writer
A member of the Northside High School family was returned home last month. Specialist Mark Downer was killed in Afghanistan after insurgents attacked his unit with rocket propelled granades. It was by his parents' request that his processional ride by the school.

And it was for good reason. A memorial for the fallen soldier stands in the main hall of Northside High School. Underneath the picture of Specialist Downer is a flag, which was held by Northside students as the motorcade drove by.

The family of 23 year old Downer will recieve another flag at the next Northside home football game, which was also held by students during the processional.

Downer was a combat medic stationed in Fort Drum New York. He received multiple awards including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

To many at Northside, Downer wasn't just a military member being returned home. He was a fallen soldier coming back to his family.

"Here we're just a very big family," said David Jackson Jr., the Senior Class President, "and if anything ever happens to a soldier we respect that, and not only was he a soldier, but he was a student at the school so that kind of brought the school together to show respect as a group."

After this school year, the Downer Memorial will move across the hall where it will stand for the rest of time.

© 2011