GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – While we’re all remembering the people who lost their lives on 9/11, one family in Gaffney is remembering a loved one who was killed in action after 9/11 inspired him to fight for our country.
Christopher Fowlkes died after being injured in an explosion in Afghanistan in September of 2009.
7 News spoke with Fowlkes’ family about what this day means to them.
Steve Fowlkes visits his son Christopher Fowlkes’ grave as often as possible, but especially during the month of September.
“September is a hard month, with the tragedies that have happened,” he said.
Christopher was a 20-year-old marine when he was injured in an explosion in Afghanistan.
He died from those injuries on September 10th of that year, and his body was buried in his hometown of Gaffney on September 18th–but not before the entire town lined the streets with American flags, welcoming the hero to his final resting place.
Ten years later, the loss is no easier for his family.
“I would’ve liked to see him get married and make his own family, and have more grandchildren,” Steve Fowlkes said. “It’s just hard knowing that’s not going to be there now.”
Steve Fowlkes told 7 News his son was one of the most patriotic people he ever met.
“At football games, he was one of the first ones to stand up whenever the national anthem came on,” he said. “Whenever the Olympics would be on, he always got his red, white, and blue out.”
Christopher followed in the footsteps of both his uncle and grandfather, who were marines; but, ultimately, his father said 9/11 is what inspired Christopher to serve.
“That compelled him even more, wanting to defend his country,” he said.
Christopher’s father told 7 News that Christopher was the first Cherokee County soldier to be killed in action in 40 years. The last soldier was in the Vietnam War.
Christopher’s family created a scholarship fund in his memory. Each year, they gift $1,000 to one Gaffney High School student and one Blacksburg High School student.