Saturday, June 02, 2007

Julian Woodall laid to rest

At the front of the American Legion Post 13, there were tables that held three folded U.S. flags, a purple heart, an achievement medal with a combat distinguishing device in the shape of a "V" for valor, a Dell computer showing pictures of a young soldier, a scrapbook with a United States Marines seal and a picture of Marine Cpl. Julian Woodall.

Woodall died in Iraq last month. He was 21.

More than 100 people gathered there to watch Woodall's wife, Melissa, his mother, Meredith McMackin and his father, Jerry Woodall receive the awards Woodall earned in combat.

“The purple heart is for any serviceman who is willing to put his life in harm's way,” Marine Capt. Raymond Spaulding said.

Friends and loved ones lined up to share words with the family. Teary-eyed attendants kneeled before family members.

“He had intelligence and common sense,” said Michael Moore, the father of one of Woodall's friends. “You don't find that in teenagers.”

Woodall, who graduated from SAIL High School, had many friends who attended the reception at the Legion Hall following the closed military memorial service at Maclay Gardens.

The last time Marine Cpl. Brad Cortley saw Woodall was July 2006 in Panama City, just before he was going to be deployed to Iraq.

Woodall gave Cortley some advice: “Keep your head on swivel and learn the culture.”

“He was always much more mature and way far ahead of his age group,” Cortley said. “He was extremely smart.”

His friends remember him as a “devoted” friend of “integrity.”

Members of his paintball team remember him as “absolutely fearless,” said David Byrd, an ex-Navy Seal and paintball team captain. “Julian left an impression on a lot of people because he was a stand-up guy. You always want him on your team.”

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Related Link:
Julian Woodall remembered

Related Link:
Julian M. Woodall dies 'while conducting combat operations'