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Flags lowered Thursday for Sgt. Ralph Porras

Sept. 13, 2006

KALAMAZOO--By order of Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. flags on all campuses of Western Michigan University and throughout Michigan will be lowered for one day, Thursday, Sept. 14, in honor of Army Sgt. Ralph N. Porras, who died Sept. 2 from injuries sustained while on active duty in Iraq.

Sgt. Porras, age 36, of Merrill, Mich., died from injuries sustained from mortar fire during dismounted combat operations in Yusifiyah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg N.C.

According to a neighbor, Debi L. Frasle, Porras was inspired to join the Army following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He is survived by his wife, Christine, and a 16-year-old son, among others.

Flags will remain at full-staff Friday, Sept. 15, to honor Army Sgt. Gabriel G. DeRoo of Paw Paw, Mich.

In December 2003, Gov. Granholm issued a proclamation requiring U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in the line of duty.

Michigan was among the earlier states to honor its fallen sons and daughters by lowering flags. Sixteen states now follow the practice, including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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