Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jerimiah Veitch laid to rest

PURCELL — More than 300 people attended the funeral Monday for a Dibble soldier killed in Iraq.

Pfc. Jerimiah James Veitch Sanchez, of Dibble, was killed June 21 in Baghdad when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle.

The 21-year-old’s life was celebrated at the 2 p.m. service at his church, Union Hill Baptist west of Purcell.

Those who knew him well said he was a loyal friend who could do more than his 5-foot-4-inch frame suggested.

During his high school years, Veitch placed second in the state weight lifters’ competition and played football at Dibble. He graduated in 2004.

He was employed by Southwestern Roofing and Sheet Metal before joining the United States Army.

Gen. Vincent Boles represented the Army Chief of Staff at the funeral. He said he knows Veitch was a good soldier because his fellow soldiers said they could always depend on him.

Veitch’s sacrifice is important to his fellow soldiers and to every American, Boles said. Veitch even volunteered when he didn’t have to, he said.

“He went because our freedom is precious, and because our freedom is precarious,” Boles said as he stood behind Veitch’s flag-draped coffin.

Veitch was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo.

His immediate commanding officer, Sgt. Daniel Salazar, said Veitch could be described as a guardian.

“That man would take care of you like he was your brother,” Salazar said.

Veitch’s friend and roommate in Iraq, Pfc. David Rosas, said there was nothing too tough for Veitch to handle.

“He was a good friend, the type of person you could trust with your life, the kind of person you don’t meet every day,” Rosas said.

Family members shared written memories about Veitch.

When he was 2, his Aunt Mary would sing him “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog.”

“And he would tell me, ‘No, I’m not,’” his aunt said. “When I told him it was just a silly song, he would say, ‘Don’t sing it, I don’t like it.’”

But no matter what you call him, his aunt said, he is a hero.

The Rev. Edward Stewart, a family friend, presided over the services. He said Veitch saw God’s big picture.

“If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been on that battlefield,” Stewart said.

He told the family to have faith, because Veitch is now spending eternity with his creator.

Stewart told the story of little girl Jesus brought back to life by saying “Get up.” This is what happened to Veitch, too, Stewart said.

“The minute the physical life left him, Jesus said, ‘Get up, get up, you got a new road,’” Stewart said.

Veitch’s coffin was carried out of the church by a military guard. His body was interred in Dibble Cemetery.

From the Norman Transcript

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Jerimiah J. Veitch dies 'of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck with a rocket propelled grenade'