Given how many times Kimberly Agar sang the national anthem in her youth, perhaps it should not have been surprising that she became a soldier.
Sgt. Agar's decision to enlist in the Army in 2006, two years after graduation from Birdville High School and during the worst of the sectarian violence in Iraq, surprised her mother, who was already seeing off her oldest child to the Air Force. But in hindsight, one day after she buried her daughter at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, her mother sees some poetry in her daughter's choice.
"She spent her whole life honoring our country," said Margy Agar, who lives in Bedford.
Sgt. Agar, 25, switched from driving massive trucks and refueling helicopters to representing the Army in a prestigious band and chorus in Europe, a job that could not have been better suited to her passion for singing patriotic tunes.
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She was found dead in her barracks in Schwetzingen, Germany, on Oct. 3 after she failed to show up for a medical appointment, according to the Army. She was memorialized at Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home on Wednesday and buried with full honors.
"The cause of death has not been determined," said Joseph Garvey, a spokesman for U.S. Army Europe. "An investigation is ongoing."
Sgt. Agar was born in Dallas but raised in North Richland Hills. From the time she was 6, she sang. She sang for residents of nursing homes and in teenage pageants. She joined the TKO Kids Singing Troupe, where she got to perform in the White House in 1996. She sang the national anthem at Fort Worth Brahmas games, at Lone Star Park and at high school football stadiums.
The year she joined the Army she sang God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch at a Texas Rangers game.
But after high school and a try at community college, Sgt. Agar joined the Army. Not surprisingly, she sang the national anthem at the graduation ceremony for her basic training class.
Nine months later, she was driving a truck in a convoy in Iraq.
"She was an 88 Mike," her mother said, using Army lingo for a motor transport operator. "I was just amazed my little girl would be climbing a ladder and driving this huge truck. She was outside the wire every day."
She survived an attack with an improvised explosive device and spoke little about it to her family, who knew only that her deployment affected her emotionally when she first returned. She earned an Army Commendation Medal for her service in Iraq, which lasted 15 months, the Army said. She re-enlisted in 2010 and requested to go to Germany.
Urged on by her commanders, Sgt. Agar auditioned for the U.S. Army Europe Band & Chorus and earned a spot as a vocalist and assistant choreographer early this year. Just a few days before her death, she performed at the home of Army Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling before a delegation of Hungarian officials.
"The impact that this loss will have is huge," her commanders in Germany wrote in a memorial to her. "Kimberly was loved and respected by all who knew her. Kimberly loved what she was doing. She always gave all she had and came to work fully prepared for the musical missions she was tasked with."
In just a short time, Sgt. Agar performed for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, traveled to Serbia, sang for ambassadors and donned a World War II-era uniform to sing for Queen Elizabeth's 85th birthday this year.
"She got to travel Europe on the Army," her father, Michael Agar, said from his home in Colleyville. "She vacationed in London for Christmas and Paris for New Year's. She was in Barcelona this summer. She was having a good ol' time."
Her family requested that memorials be sent to the Wounded Warrior Project.
She is also survived by her brothers, Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephen Agar and Christopher Agar.