Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Joshua Moore laid to rest

LEWISBURG - In a funeral that spanned Logan County, eulogizers remembered Cpl. Joshua Moore of Russellville on Monday as a young man of faith who loved his family and friends.

Moore, 20, died at 8:08 a.m. May 30 in Baghdad from injuries suffered after the Humvee he was in was hit by an explosive device.

Hundreds attended his funeral service at Lewisburg Elementary School, where eulogizers interspersed their memories of Moore between music and slides depicting seasons of his life.

Ronnie Forrest, Moore's pastor at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Lewisburg for many years, said he was filled with love and had a contagious smile.

“He didn't want to die, he didn't intend to die, but he was willing to lay down his life,” Forrest said. “That's what a hero is.”

The funeral program featured a picture of Moore, wearing military attire, glowingly embossed over an American flag. Outside, businesses and cars donned the slogan “Josh, our fallen hero.”

Afterward, a vast motorcade, which included dozens of motorcyclists, slowly passed droves of Logan Countians who lined miles of rural streets and houses to pay tribute to Moore by waving flags or simply cupping hands in prayer.

The nearly two-hour procession wound around Russellville's downtown square before heading back to Lewisburg, where cornfield-flanked roads led to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

At Moore's gravesite, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Horne presented his family with a folded American flag.

Moore was also posthumously awarded three medals at his service in honor of his Army career: a Bronze Star, for meritorious service in a war zone, a Purple Heart, for combat wounds, and a Good Conduct medal.

Eulogies came from military comrades and friends.

Spc. Sean Hurley, Moore's roommate during a stint in Germany, said he was dependable and not intimidated by anything on “seemingly endless patrols” in Iraq.

He recalled one instance in which Moore stepped out of an Army vehicle to fix a child's broom with duct tape in an area known for snipers. Hurley said he yelled at Moore to get back into the vehicle. Moore's retort: “Hurley, quit being a little girl,” Hurley said, chuckling.

Lewisburg Elementary School teacher Denisa Powell, whose class was penpals with Moore during his time in Iraq, said he was dedicated to the mission there.

“He felt like he was helping others who couldn't help themselves,” she said.

Powell, who led a Bible study group that included Moore, said the soldier was calm about returning to Iraq when talking to her students while on leave in April.

“He knew where his strength came from,” she said. “(God) does promise us that he will never leave us or forsake us.”

Of Moore's faith, Powell said she considered him to be her “brother in Christ,” as he was a “steady, rock-solid follower of Jesus Christ.”

Forrest said Moore's faith helped him under fire.

“It was at vacation Bible school that he gave his life to Jesus Christ,” he said.

Forrest recalled that the water from the church's baptismal pool came up to Moore's head, so a step stool was employed for his baptism, and that he liked church activities so much that he persuaded his parents to attend.

“He made an indelible impression on all of us. ... Aren't you proud to be an American?” Forrest asked, eliciting a standing ovation.

Dustin Epling of Lewisburg graduated with Moore in 2005 from Logan County High School.

“I never dreamed that you'd grow up to be Cpl. Josh Moore,” Epling said, overlooking Moore's open casket. “I can't even begin to say how much our friendship means to me.”

Rick Powell, whose son, Josh Powell, was Moore's friend, said he had read that the average life touches 250 people, but “I think this young man's exceeded that number,” evidenced by the funeral crowd.

“We're not going to forget this young man. This is not goodbye; we will see (Moore) again,” he said.

Moore carefully contemplated his course in life and his decision to join the military, Powell said, and it was important to him to earn respect from the small community.

Later, commenting as scores of people were leaving Moore's gravesite, Powell said, “He ended up with all the respect that he wanted.”

Moore is survived by his parents, Carolyn Rose Moore and Jeff “Seymore” Moore of Russellville; two sisters, Ashley Moore of Russellville and Carrie Cantarelli of Guthrie; a brother, Richard Pierce of Russellville; a maternal grandmother, Jeanette Rose of Russellville; a paternal grandfather, David Knight of Lewisburg; and his girlfriend, Amber Miles of Auburn.

From the Bowling Green Daily News

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