Saturday, April 21, 2007

Jesse Williams laid to rest

The war in Iraq is hitting close to home again as Sergeant Jesse Williams was laid to rest in Santa Rosa. The 26-year-old new father was in the middle of his second tour of duty in Iraq and was already being considered for the bronze star.

In most American communities, there has probably been a memorial just like this for the kid who grew up next door.

Army Staff Sergeant Jesse Williams died early last week from a sniper's bullet in Baghdad. Today, an auditorium packed with more than 1,000 people.

Sgt. Major Andrew Mangosing, United States Army: "You will never be forgotten. And you will always remembered as the one special soldier that can always bring light into anyone's darkest day."

It has become traditional at events like this to show photos and videos in telling life stories. This one lasted all of 25 years.

Bob Blanchard, Family Friend: "He was a charismatic, fun loving guy that cared for people."

This kid next door grew up to be an Eagle Scout. His mother told how between his first and second tours in Iraq, he insisted on visiting ground zero.

Janyce Leone, Mother: "He said to us, 'Okay, I've seen enough. Now I know what I must fight for.'"

This kid next door fell in love and married early in life. This kid next door had his daughter's handprints tattooed on his chest so that she would always be with him. He would spend little more than one month with that baby. His wife, Sonya, described a video he left behind, just in case.

Sonya Williams, Wife: "At the end of this video he held Amaya up and said, 'this is me, left behind.' And he is right. I will be eternally grateful that he will now be a part of my life every day. I promise that I will make sure that Amaya knows him and how full of life he was."

From KGO 7

Related Link:
Jesse L. Williams slain by sniper