Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Darrell Shipp laid to rest

HARLINGEN, February 4, 2007 — Trying their hardest to speak while crying, family and friends recalled their favorite memories of Army Spc. Darrell Shipp on Saturday.

He was a great son, brother, friend, musician and racer.

Inside Marine Military Academy’s Auditorium, more than 200 gathered to pay their respects to Shipp, 25, who died Jan. 25 in Iraq after an improvised explosive devise went off near the Humvee he was driving.

Before the funeral service began, a photo slide show was played.

There were photos of him as a baby, at a number of birthdays, staying “cool” inside a red ice chest and of Shipp at an Easter egg hunt as a child. There were also photos of Shipp with his parents and sisters as a baby and Shipp embracing his father before he left to Iraq.

A chaplain with the U.S. Army, Lt. Col. James Benson, said Shipp’s life was taken away “in a blink.”

“In a twinkling of an eye, we shall see him again,” Benson said to mourners.

After prayers, Shipp’s sisters gathered on the stage to speak about their only brother.

“If I would have known that day in October that it would be the last day I hugged you, I would have held onto you,” Jennifer Walker said. “You used to chase me around the house with a snake because I was afraid, and now you’re my hero.”

Mary Vale described her brother as “the best brother and friend a sister could have.”

Donna Rosales, who is in the Army Reserve, said she never imagined her life without her older brother.

“All I have now are the memories we shared,” she said. “Sticking up for each other when I did something wrong, riding our bikes too far from home and you chasing off my boyfriends.”

Before his sisters exited the stage, they shared a group hug.

A number of Shipp’s honorary pallbearers, who were relatives, friends and band mates, spoke as well.

“He taught me how to have a positive outlook on life,” Will Ledesma said.

Daylon Mayfield, Shipp’s childhood friend and band mate for the San Antonio punk band Celebrate Tuesday, said Shipp was someone he’d never forget.

“We used to call each other brothers forever,” Mayfield said of himself, Shipp and friend Jimmy Smith.

Smith echoed those sentiments: “It was the three of us against the world. We were three different pieces from different puzzles put together.”

Before Smith and the other pallbearers left the stage, Smith introduced one of Celebrate Tuesday’s songs.

“I know without a doubt that Darrell would want this song played at his funeral,” Smith said before “The World Doesn’t Care,” was played.

In the recording, Shipp — the band’s guitarist and vocalist — dedicates the song to his mother, Regina.

Along with being posthumously promoted last week, Shipp was awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, a Good Conduct Medal and a Combat Action Badge.

State Rep. Juan M. Escobar, D-Kingsville, also gave the family a flag flown over the Texas Capitol in Shipp’s memory.

The funeral procession left MMA and passed by Harlingen High School where Shipp graduated in 2000. The procession also ran along 77 Sunshine Strip.

Shipp’s body was escorted by police and members of the Patriot Guard Riders to Mont Meta Memorial Park in San Benito.

After Army officials presented Shipp’s mother with one of two U.S. flags, she ran her hands along the white stars and clutched the triangle-shaped folded flag in her arms.

The second flag was given to Shipp’s youngest sister, Rosales.

The ceremony ended after the flags were presented to allow the family time with Shipp’s body before he was buried.

From the Herald

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