Friday, March 30, 2007

Benjamin Sebban laid to rest

SOUTH AMBOY — Nothing seemed to hold greater importance in Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin L. Sebban's life than God, country, friends and family.

Simply put, a brother said, the 29-year-old Army combat medic was the "best man I ever knew."

Capped by a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps, a moving memorial service was held Wednesday for the South Amboy man killed while serving in Iraq. Sebban is to be interred at 1 p.m. today at Arlington National Cemetery.

A procession of emergency-services workers, soldiers and black-clad mourners joined the hearse carrying Sebban's body up to Christ Church. Onlookers gazed from sidewalks under beautiful skies while more than a few tissues met the corners of mourners' eyes.

Inside the church, the pastor, the Rev. Lloyd Pulley set the tone.

"This is a different funeral service," he said. "This is uplifting in that . . . (Sebban) had trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ.

"I believe the legacy that he left will influence many others and that through his life, others, perhaps, will come to know the God that he came to know," Pulley added in his closing remarks.

Pulley offered spiritual solace to those touched by Sebban, reminding them that there is something else "beyond life."

Indeed, family members were still coming to grips with the death of the man affectionately called "Doc" in the Army and known equally for his kindness and courage.

"I will never try to understand why he's laying here dead . . . and I'm standing here," said brother David Sebban. "I will never understand it, and I will never try to understand it. But I'm going to move on."

David Sebban expressed what others have said in similar situations — the tragedy was unexpected.

"I thought we were all going to grow old together and tell stories," he said. "And now that's not going to happen."

David Sebban called his late brother the "best man I ever knew."

Benjamin Sebban died March 17 in Baqouba, Iraq, from wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit. The 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper was reportedly trying to warn fellow troops when the device exploded, and he then treated the injured before dying. He has been recommended for a posthumous Silver Star medal for gallantry and heroism in action.

The former St. Mary's Elementary School pupil and 1996 graduate of Middlesex County Vocational-Technical High School was deployed twice previously to the Republic of Georgia and had also served one tour in West Africa.

Brothers David and Daniel are also members of the military.

Daniel Sebban said Benjamin always gave "his all" for his friends, family and country.

While family members tote heavy hearts these days, Daniel Sebban said Benjamin is faring much better.

He is in a "place with no grief, but peace," he said.

From the Tribune

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Benjamin Sebban remembered

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Benjamin L. Sebban dies of injuries from I.E.D.