Monday, May 28, 2007

Tony (William A.) Farrar laid to rest

REDLANDS - Reserved and self-effacing, Spc. William "Tony" Farrar Jr. was never comfortable with outpourings of attention.

But this was different. Farrar, 20, was killed in combat in Iraq on May 11.

His body lay in a coffin draped by an American flag in the Worship Hall of First Missionary Baptist Church on Friday.

His spirit was above, 400 mourners were told, and he was smiling. It was possibly a mild, lips-compressed expression familiar from recent pictures.

"Today we honor a hero, a hero to his country, a hero to his faith," said Scott Breckley, Farrar's uncle. Breckley read a few lines from his Bible while standing over Farrar's coffin, then completed the hour-long service.

"This is not the end, this is Tony's beginning."

In a solemn service dabbed by rays of humor and hope, mourners packed the small Redlands church to send off a local soldier whose achieved dream of joining the military was all too brief.

Farrar, the son of a Rialto police captain and a military policeman in his own right, was killed when a roadside bomb detonated near the Humvee he was driving about 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Farrar was assigned to the 127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade out of Darmstadt, Germany.
He enlisted in the Army in September 2005 soon after graduating from Palm Springs High School.

Farrar was deployed to Iraq in November the following year.

The packed funeral procession was joined by dozens of uniformed Rialto police officers and firefighters. Farrar's father, Tony Sr., 46, is a 19-year veteran of the Rialto department.

The soldier's younger brother, 18-year-old Ken, also came to the lectern to speak about his big brother.

His voice at times cracking, Ken, who joined the Marines in December and could soon find himself in Iraq, said he knew the severity of the conflict but couldn't fathom that tragedy would strike down his "hero."

"He may have been small," Ken Farrar said of his wiry brother, who was temporarily denied admission to the Army for being underweight. "But I'd just like to be half the man he was."

Christine Rodriguez, a childhood friend of Farrar's, moved to the podium to tell of the day at church camp two years ago when Farrar accepted God in his life.

"He's in heaven right now because he decided to give his heart to God that day," Rodriguez said, crying.

Speakers also humorously spoke about Farrar's near obsession with video games and ravenous appetite, despite his slight build.

Amid the tragedy, the mood was at once solemn, proud and hopeful. During a still-photo montage set to music were quotes from historical leaders including Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Edmund Burke and President Ronald Reagan.

A procession of cars, police and fire vehicles and about 60 motorcycles ridden by Patriot Guard Riders, a nationwide group that escorts military funerals, took Farrar's body to Riverside National Cemetery, where he was buried. Farrar was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor posthumously for his service to the nation.

The services were intimate and personal, with the short list of speakers sharply focused on the fallen young man, his sacrifice and his faith.

"This is beautiful," said Darin Good, a resident who watched the procession from across the street. "This is the way to honor our heroes."

From the Daily Bulletin

Related Link:
Tony Farrar remembered

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Tony (William A.) Farrar dies of injuries from I.E.D.