BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Wearing a cowboy hat and a belt buckle, John Hall paid tribute to his friend, Michael Metcalf.
"Everybody knows him as Cowboy," said Hall.
Pfc. Michael Metcalf loved the rodeo and friends say he was tough as a bullfighter. He was killed when a bomb hit his truck during a rescue mission in Afghanistan that he volunteered for.
Metcalf was selfless, but not oblivious to the risks.
"We got a text message from him one night saying, 'I may not come back.' He knew it could happen. It did," said Hall.
Retired Air Force Sgt. Richard Smith, the head of the local American Legion, says the length of the war has made it easy for some to forget about it.
He says Metcalf's death is a reminder of the constant threat that thousands of Americans live under every day.
"When it goes on every day, every day, every day for ten, eleven years, I think people say, 'Somebody else is dying.' But now it's part of our community that has died. I hope that brings the reality closer to home," said Smith.
Alyssa Tarpenning is offering her own reminder of Metcalf's service.
She painted the back of her truck to say, "Gone, but not forgotten."
She has several reasons to never forget during this long war, a war being fought in a place only those who have been there can imagine.
"We still have a couple of our friends that are over there. With this happening, it's wow, this can happen to anyone," said Tarpenning.
Metcalf's funeral will be held Saturday in Boynton Beach at the First Baptist Church.
It is scheduled to begin at 2:30.
Mayor Woodrow Hay of Boynton Beach says the city is considering building a memorial, possibly a tree planted near the ocean.
Metcalf loved to surf.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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