Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Brandon Bobb comes home

It was a sad Monday morning in Port Arthur as the body of Pfc. Brandon Keith Bobb was welcomed home for the last time.

After a hero’s welcome at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport — complete with a water-made rainbow arch for the taxiing plane flying Bobb home— a procession carried the fallen soldier through the streets of his hometown.

Bobb, 20, was killed in Baghdad last Tuesday, from wounds he received after his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. He was due to come home on July 26.

Along the route, hundreds of faithful supporters waved American flags to the passing cars carrying Bobb’s family to Gabriel Funeral Home.

“It’s a sad day to see our young men go to basic training, get sent to the front lines and this is how they return home — in caskets,” said Mattie Morrow, a friend of the Bobb family. “My heart goes out to the family on this sad, sad day.”

Bobb’s uncle, Joseph “Joe” Bobb, took the news of his nephew’s death hard.

“I had to sit down,” he said of receiving the tragic news. “His mother is my baby sister and all my life I’ve done things to protect her. I could be a thousand miles away and if she needed me, I’d be right there.”

Bobb’s uncle said the large, close-knit family is competitive in academics and athletics and he was not keen on the idea of the young man going into the military.

“I didn’t like the idea at the time,” he said. “But he manned up and did what he was going to do and I support him.”

Brandon Bobb was a typical teenager who pretty much followed in his family’s footsteps in athletics and academics. Many family members earned scholarships to various colleges in the U.S., which is something that pushed the young man towards the straight and narrow without a lot of heavy handedness, Joe Bobb said.

A straight and narrow, respectful young man is how many remember Brandon Bobb and say he got those traits from his well-known family.

“The family would give you their last, that’s just how they are,” said Wesley Johnson. “It’s just so sad because he was so young. It’s good to see a young man serve our country and he gave his life trying to protect all of us.”

Whether a Port Arthur resident or a stranger to the Bobb family, the death of the American hero crossed all barriers and touched people across the area.

Although Lorne Mayfield did not personally know Bobb, his patriotic spirit was with him as he stood along Jefferson Drive in support of America’s soldiers.

“If it was anybody who lost their life defending our country, I’d be out here,” said the Memorial High School employee who stood with the school’s American flag. “I’d do the same thing for all our young men.”

Denise Anderson remembered Bobb from when he was first born and she went to the same church as his family. The Port Arthur native brought her two young children with her to stand in front of the high school to show her support for Bobb and his family, but was unsure how to tell them about the death of the family friend.

“I know they’ll understand,” she said. “It’s just hard because it hits so close to home.”

Also in front of Bobb’s high school was the soldier’s former track coach from his years at MHS, Kenny Harrison. The coach and a group of MHS students waited together for the procession and Harrison spoke of the young man he remembered from the junior varsity track team several years ago.

“He was a good kid. A yes sir, no sir kind of kid. Hard worker and a big competitor,” he said. “He led by example. Some lead by talking, but Brandon led by example.”

“It was very shocking (to hear the news of Bobb’s death),” he continued. “I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. The last time was when he ran JV track and now, he’s killed in active duty. He is definitely a role model, without a doubt.”

From the Port Arthur News

Related Link:
Brandon Bobb remembered by mother

Related Link:
Brandon Bobb remembered

Related Link:
Brandon Keith Bobb reported killed in Iraq