Oswego (WSYR-TV) -- People from all over Oswego County gathered at Fort Ontario Friday night for a candlelight vigil in memory of Army Specialist Kyle Rookey. The 23-year-old Oswego native was serving in Afghanistan when he died from non-combat related injuries earlier this week.
Their tears told the story of a soldier whose life ended too soon.
"It's so overwhelming, all the outpouring of people," said Kyle's dad, George Rookey.
People came from near and far to say goodbye, as Fort Ontario became a gathering place for their grieving and a repository for their tears.
"It's more of a bonding of family, I'm more worried about making sure my family is okay," said David Wallace, Kyle's brother.
One-by-one, candles were lit to show just how much Kyle brightened the lives of his community.
"He was a motivator, he didn't like seeing people sad or upset. He would try to bring up there emotions and make them happy," said Christine Mansfield.
And now, as flags wave at half-staff and a lone prayer lantern flies off in the distance, the memory of Kyle will forever live in the hearts of many.
"He just wouldn't be able to imagine how many people really loved him and have been affected by him," said Rookey.