Saturday, June 02, 2007

Adrian Worthington laid to rest

The coffin was covered with an American flag.

It was surrounded by six, floral bouquets of red and white flowers. It was set in the center of the church stage, flanked by an American flag and a Christian flag.

A single, red rose rested on top.

“We honor and remember a young man that will forever be an American hero,” said Rev. Dean Haun, at the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro funeral Thursday. “Today we honor Robert Adrian Worthington.”

Private First Class Worthington, of Rex and Hampton, was killed about 20 miles north of Baghdad on May 22. He was 19 years old. He was killed by a roadside, improvised explosive devise.

He was the 101st soldier from Georgia to die in Iraq, since the 2003 invasion, and the 3,432nd U.S. soldier to die in the war.

Worthington joined the Army last June. His brigade was sent to Iraq in April, about a month ahead of schedule, as part of President George W. Bush’s troop surge.

Posthumously, Worthington was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Friends, family and troop supporters gathered at the Jonesboro church at noon, and at the Rock Baptist Church in Rex at 3 p.m., to pay their respects to Worthington.

The photos looped in the slide show before the funeral were of Worthington, and he was always smiling: He was an infant, banging on pots and pans, mouth wide open, in a baby-slobber smile. He was a child, sitting in family pictures with his sister, a big grin showing straight white teeth.

He was a teen, with cropped brown hair, a smile stretching wide across his face. He was a soldier, in Army camouflage, with the straight face of a soldier but still, his mouth turned up at the corner.

“This is not an arbitrary life that has been lived,” said Rev. Joshua Sorrows, Worthington’s cousin. “I pray that we remember the message of his life: To be courageous, to be strong, to value family.”

Haun, presiding over his third service for a fallen soldier since last fall, spoke to the family, urging them to “trust God in the midst of your confusion and pain, grief, sorrow and pain.”

Haun said Worthington had responded to the call of his country and the call of God, when he joined the Army.

He said Worthington was not gone. “He did not cease to exist, but he continues to live and be remembered.”

Sorrows said Worthington was like a brother to him, and repeated the sentiment that the 19-year-old was a hero.

“Our fallen hero,” Sorrows said. “Our fallen soldier, fallen grandson, fallen son, fallen brother, fallen cousin, fallen uncle.”

The half-hour service ended in silence, the sanctuary dim.

The coffin was wheeled outside into an overcast day and the waiting gray hearse. The coffin was followed quietly by 28 family members and more than 100 other mourners.

From the Henry Daily Herald

Related Link:
Adrian (Robert A.) Worthington dies of 'wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit'