As she looked at a portrait of her son, Private First Class Larry I. Guyton, Andrea McDonald said the photo captured his strength and confidence.
"He looked like a man. He wasn't that little boy I sent off, he was a man," McDonald said.
Guyton's parents, siblings, and other family members have started gathering together to remember that man. Knowing the danger he could face, McDonald said her son felt compelled to make a difference in his life and in the lives of others, so he joined the Army.
Apprehensive about his decision, his mom and dad said his commitment to serve helped them to accept what he wanted.
"I said O.K., you know, I'm accept this if this is what you want to do, I support you 100 percent," McDonald said.
"As he signed up and stuff I kind of, you know the idea was kind of O.K. with me 'cause that's what he wanted to do," Larry Guyton said.
As her young brother was stationed in Baghdad, Debbie Rogers said she was proud to think of him over there protecting his entire family.
"With being the big sister, I feel like he was going over to protect me and my little girl and my family and stuff," Rogers said.
An Improvised Explosive Device that detonated near the vehicle he was riding in cut short Guyton's service. In the wee hours of Saturday morning, his family learned he did not survive injuries he had sustained.
"My heart just sunk," McDonald said. "I mean it just sunk and I have not been myself."
The family now recalls Guyton's childhood and special moments. His brother, Lamont Roberts replays what his older brother asked him to do for if he did not return home.
"He told me he loved me and take care his kids if anything was to happen to him," Roberts said.
Guyton's father said his fallen son can be assured his two small sons will know the character and integrity he possessed--that made him a man of great worth to his family and his country.
"We gonna miss him," Larry Guyton said of his son.
Funeral services for Private Guyton are pending.