Saturday, June 09, 2007

Matthew Bean laid to rest

On his bedside table in Pembroke, Army Pfc. Matthew Bean left a handwritten essay describing how he imagined heaven.

His father, Dana Bean, read those stirring words yesterday at his son’s funeral, asking the packed congregation at Pembroke’s North River Community Church to close their eyes and picture what Matthew wrote.

“I imagine what the Earth would be like if it still were as God intended,” Dana Bean said, reading his son’s essay.

The young soldier and avid outdoorsman described a place where he’d wake to the sound of roosters and birds. Outside his window, he’d see fruit-bearing trees and rivers rich with fish.

“We would all be working for the basics, things we need, not things we desire,” the 22-year-old soldier had scrawled. “We would sing praises for what we have.”

The elder Bean wasn’t sure if the words were Matthew’s or someone else’s, but he said they offered a glimpse of his son. “I’d just like to say,” said a choked Dana Bean, “well done, son.”

It was standing-room only yesterday at the church where the Beans worship - and where hundreds of mourners, including Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and U.S. Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.), came to say goodbye to a fallen hero.

Matthew Bean, who was part of the 10th Mountain Division, was shot in the head by a sniper three weeks ago while searching for missing comrades in Iraq, among them a fellow Bay State soldier, Spc. Alex R. Jimenez of Lawrence, who remains missing.

Bean died May 31 in a Maryland hospital after being taken off life support.

Wendy Luzon, a close friend of the Jimenez family, said his father, Ramon “Andy” Jimenez, is praying for the Bean family. “His heart goes out to Matthew’s family,” Luzon said.

Yesterday, as Bean’s flag-draped coffin was led into the church, his 6-year-old sister, Molly, clutched a teddy bear wearing an American flag. Bean, who leaves a fiancee, enlisted last year.

Timothy Bean said his brother taught him to look for the best in people and to “protect and support” everyone you love. “Matt is a hero. He’s my hero,” said Timothy Bean, adding that it was going to be “pretty hard” for him and Molly to live without him.

Hundreds of townspeople and visitors - many of them holding American flags - lined Pembroke’s winding streets as Bean’s funeral procession made its way to Center Cemetery.

His grieving mother and father gently touched his casket before departing. A few friends stayed behind after mourners, military and bagpipers left.

From the Boston Herald

Related Link:
Matthew Bean remembered

Related Link:
Matthew Bean reported to have died at Bethesda of wounds suffered when shot by a sniper