Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Benjamin Ashley laid to rest

Mourners filed into Bethel Baptist Church Sunday to honor the proud life of a fallen hero.

There seemed to be no question among family and friends that Cpl. Benjamin Ashley, U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Division, believed in his cause and that the life of a soldier was his life's dream. Ashley was killed in Balad, Iraq, May 24 when a vehicle he was driving struck an improvised explosive device.

"He's the best friend anyone could ever have," said close friend Ramon Juiliano, who also added that helping his friends and people in general was a dominant element to Ashley's life. "I've known him since before he was 18. Losing him was like losing my own little brother. I could not be more proud of that man in my life. He's a true hero. He died for his country."

Sue Barclay has worked with Benjamin Ashley and his mother Donna.

"I know that Donna and Ken were very proud of their son," Barclay said. "He had always wanted to be in the service. He was living his dream."

Bruce Lathrop knew the family through Boy Scouts and church activities. Lathrop is chaplain for Troop 161 in Independence.

"Ben stood for four things," said Lathrop. "The first one would be he honored his God; second he always honored his mother; third, his country has always impressed him ever since he was little - he always wanted to be a soldier; and fourth, but not least, the younger and the weaker; he always looked out for (them) and that's the four principles that the Scouts stand for and certainly Ben stood for that."

Lathrop added that he had heard from a friend that a few weeks prior to Ashley's death he talked of not being afraid in the job he was doing overseas.

"He was a good man, he stood for some good principles," Lathrop said. "He was not afraid to die, the work he was doing he believed in, and... the people over there appreciated the work he was doing."

Read the rest at the Examiner

Related Link:
Benjamin Ashley remembered

Related Link:
Benjamin J. Ashley dies of 'wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'