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A Young Adventurer's Final Journey

Days before he died, he watched Iraqis cast ballots in the nation's first free election in half a century.

Sherman was a self-taught guitarist and a music lover. He jumped at the chance to jam with his brother and cousins, and he frequently made CDs for his father so they could enjoy the same music, his father said. Sherman's guitar stayed behind when he went to Iraq.

Bernadette Sherman touches the coffin of her son Stephen, the 116th soldier killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. (Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)

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Duty In Iraq
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The CDs will remain as souvenirs of Sherman's life, as will the memory of his quick humor, Richard Sherman said.

The soldier was able to poke fun at himself and bring others to hysterics by reciting lines from "The Simpsons" or "Saturday Night Live," his father told mourners yesterday.

"His smile and that 'look' he gave was enough to make anyone crack a grin," Bobby Love, a co-worker in the Cayman Islands, wrote on a Web site dedicated to Sherman's memory.

Richard Sherman said he grew used to getting phone calls in the middle of the night from Steve, as Sherman was known.

Each time, Sherman stuck to the same comforting message: Don't read the papers; they're too full of bad news. Things aren't so bad here, he'd say. Above all, don't worry.

"If he could talk to us now, he would likely say: 'Don't make such a fuss over me. I had my time, and it was good,' " Richard Sherman said yesterday. "That was his way."

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