Hawaii Says Aloha to Wahiawa Soldier

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- He was born and raised in Wahiawa. Friday, Hawaii said goodbye to one of its sons -- a soldier who died while serving our country in Iraq.

In a tearful ceremony, Sergeant Alexander Gagalac was laid to rest at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Sergeant Gagalac had only a month to go before he was scheduled to return home from Iraq. Friday, his family and friends honored a man they call "a hero."

Sergeant Gagalac was a son, brother, cousin and a friend. He was also a U.S. soldier, killed in Iraq three weeks ago.

"Those who died, died in war. They died for something," said Father Manuel Hewe, a pastor with St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church. "They didn't die for nothing."

Family and friends paid their final respects. Their faces said it all.

"He died with courage and not only with courage," said Father Hewe. "He died with hope, hope in his heart to be with his family and friends one day."

Now, they honor his life, his sacrifice while fighting for our country.

Alexander leaves behind his twin brother Alexis. They did everything together.

"Very close," said Perry Ugale, Alexis and Alexander's cousin. "Inseparable. Always inseparable."

The two Gagalac boys even decided to join the military together.

"Alexis didn't want to leave the states, but Alexander wanted to see the world," said Ugale.

And that he did, serving in Iraq, where he lived his final days.

"My cousin Alexander. I just couldn't believe it," said Ugale. "The cousin that always put aside everything and put family first, cared about everybody and understood everyone's needs."

Now his family and friends mourn his loss, wishing they could see him one last time.

"I wouldn't even say word," said Ugale. "I'd just hug him. Just welcome him back. Just tell him thank you for serving our country, for being a hero."

A hero now resting among other heroes.

For his valor, Sergeant Gagalac received a posthumous purple heart and a bronze star. They were presented to his parents.