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Former Inland resident laid to rest at Riverside National Cemetery in Fourth of July ceremony

On a holiday dominated by red, white and blue, Debbie Nuchols was dressed in black so she could bury her son.


Slideshow: Memorial for slain serviceman Dustin K. Burnett
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Friday, July 4, 2008
The Press-Enterprise

Hospitalman Dustin K. Burnett, 19, was killed June 20 when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle in Farah Province in Afghanistan. From childhood, family remembered, he was a devout believer in the military and the need to preserve freedom.

He was buried Friday at Riverside National Cemetery with military honors.

Hospitalman Burnett was born at Parkview Community Hospital and lived in Riverside until his family moved to Bullhead City, Ariz., in 2002.

Nuchols said her son's death doesn't depreciate the significance Independence Day.

"It will gain meaning," Nuchols said.

Hospitalman Burnett's burial teemed with memories and lessons. There was the plaque given to his younger brother Devin and the playing of taps.

Rear Adm. Donald Gintzig told mourners that that servicemen and women deployed around the world are volunteers who "stand up and go forward and protect freedom around the world."

Nuchols said it is a message her son's life demonstrates, and what she believes July Fourth is about.

"My son wanted to go over there and fight to make sure we keep (freedom) here and spread (freedom) to other people," she said.

Nuchols said she recognizes Americans are split on their impressions of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but those who serve in the military deserve support.

"War is not pretty and war is not a black and white issue," she said.

Photographer William Lewis contributed to this report