Friday, February 23, 2007

UPDATED - Lance Cpl Daniel Morris ... A community honors a local fallen hero

Lance Corporal Daniel Todd Morris
United States Marine Corps
1987 - 2007
Killed in Action in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom
Semper Fi.

American flags snap in the breeze at
New Providence Presbyterian Church.
Hundreds of mourners packed the historic New Providence Presbyterian Church Thursday for the funeral of Lance Cpl Daniel Morris who was killed in Iraq on Valentine's Day.

Forty-five minutes before the 11:00 service was to begin, cars were backed up on Rt. 252 waiting to turn into the parking area; others parked along the road. The standing-room only crowd included 50 high school students, the Wilson High School Marching Band, friends, family, community leaders, active military, Marine League, military veterans, and law enforcement officers.

SWACers who attended included Captain Barth Berry and his wife, Kimberly and their two children; SSgt. Herb Harman and his wife, Jan; Marine Reservist Jim Holbert; Marine Reservist Scott Anchors; Poppet Nelson, Rhonda & Scott Winfield; Alex Davis, SWAC Daughter, SWAC Husband, and SWAC Girl aka Lynn R. Mitchell.

The Augusta County Republicans, after asking permission of the family, had arrived early to put up dozens of American flags to honor Daniel and his family.

When the service ended, eight Marines carried the casket from the church followed by Reverend Christopher Crotwell, the family, and all those in attendance. Standing guard outside were a dozen members of the Patriot Guard Riders, each holding an American flag, each standing solemnly to honor a young Marine and fellow American.

A bagpipe played the Marine Corps Hymn and "Amazing Grace" as mourners slowly followed the flag-draped casket out the door and along the drive to the adjoining cemetery, gathering at the top of the hill at the final resting place for Daniel.
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps
Co. C 4th Combat Engineer Battalion.

As a gusty breeze blew through the trees on an unusually mild February afternoon, the graveside service included Taps, a 21-gun salute, and the presentation of the Purple Heart to the family. Fifteen Marines and a Navy bugler carried out the final details of the ceremony.

How does one thank a family for such a supreme sacrifice? What words can be said ... what actions can be taken? How can we honor a young man who was willing to lay down his life for us ... for me ... for my children? Many emotions play out ... many tears are shed.

I did not know Daniel ... but he was the age of my youngest child. He was a fellow Marine to 21-year-old Nate Salatin, the young man from Augusta County who is currently serving in Iraq who is special in my life. To decide at such a young age to serve one's country shows a maturity way beyond that of many others their age.

I posted a photo of a whiteboard with the comment: "America is not at war. The Marine Corps is at war. America is at the mall." While other 19-year-olds (and all the rest of us) are hanging out at the mall or spending our days playing video games or other numerous activities, our volunteer military is out there protecting us, standing guard over us, giving us the freedom to live life as if we are not at war.

But we are at war. This is a stark reminder ... in the middle of our video games and mall shopping. Our lives will go on ... but this family's life will now stand still in time....

We must never forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The very least we can do is support our Armed Forces and their mission and our country ... and our President. Being a Monday-morning quarterback is always easy; being a leader is not. And leadership includes keeping the people of America safe from terrorists who want to kill us.

Daniel was part of that war on terrorism. He knew when he joined the Corps he could be sent to Iraq. That is bravery. At his young age he wanted to go so that a husband or father wouldn't have to go ... he was ready to serve. And he was ready to die.

God bless Daniel Morris and his family. We thank them for their sacrifice for our freedom.

Kilo at Spark It Up!!! wrote Laid To Rest. He offered supportive, encouraging remarks about the SWAC bloggers and our support of the military and the war. Thank you, Kilo, from all of us for your kind words.
Letter to Editor in News Leader: Daniel Morris stands guard at the Pearly Gates.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake, from the skies.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

May God bless America.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, someone over at decides to bark up against Bush and the government over this loss and take political advantage, using him as a pawn....SAD.

The thing is, Zen wasn't the one that even brought up politics, at least that was good - but then he blew it by agreeing with the poster.