BOSSIER CITY, LA, USA U.S. Army PV2, TROOP E, 1ST SQUADRON, 8TH CAVALRY, FORT HOOD, TX BAGHDAD, IRAQ 11/26/2006
A mourning garland on the door at Notini’s Restaurant in Bossier City on Wednesday symbolized the sadness of local families who have lost a son and grandson in the War on Terror. The black crepe contrasted with the traffic that flowed along busy Airline Drive near East Texas Street, a flow that surged oblivious to the sorrow of the loss of a 20-year-old who also was a husband, father and brother.
“It’s been weeks since I last spoke to Josh, and the last phone conversation I had with him …. well, the phone cut me off,” his wife of less than a year, Victoria Kolniak Burrows, said Wednesday. “I didn’t get to say ‘Goodbye’ or ‘I love you.'”
U.S. Army Private Joshua Cain Burrows was in Iraq when she spoke with him, and had barely arrived there. He was just a little over a month into his tour Sunday when he and several other soldiers were killed.
Stan Kolniak, Victoria Burrows’ grandfather and well-known Bossier City restaurateur – his family opened Notini’s in 1978 – said the family hopes to learn more about the nature of the incident that claimed the young soldier’s life. For one thing, he said, Burrows was trained in heavy equipment use.
“He didn’t plan on going to college, and was very mechanically minded,” said Kolniak, a World War II veteran of Navy submarine service. “He trained for a year and went to school for heavy equipment, operating cranes and that type of stuff. I can’t imagine him being in a Humvee, unless he was picking up some equipment for their unit.”
Burrows and his wife met about two years ago, in traffic. “We met at a red light,” she said. “I was yelling out the window.”
No, they weren’t in a collision. And they attended different high schools. He was going to Bossier High School, and she was at Benton High. But something between them connected, and “we watched a movie and hung out,” she said.
They married last year and have a 6-month-old son, Landon Ray Burrows, who she said was the focus of her husband’s life when they were together.
“When he was younger he liked being outdoors,” she said. “Now, he just enjoyed spending time with me and with his son … that was about it.”
Stanley Kolniak is active in veterans causes and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 12th District Honor Guard, and said he’s asked the unit to take part in services that are now being planned for the young soldier.
“I’m not too sure what the Army will provide,” Kolniak said. “But we can come up with 20 to 22 people.”