Monday, July 30, 2007

Spanky Harrelson laid to rest

Hundreds of people came together in Dadeville and Alexander City Friday to remember Pfc. James Jacob "Spanky" Harrelson, who was killed last week in Iraq.

"Today I represent the secretary of the Army, but even bigger than that, I stand as a representative of the more than 1 million who wear the uniform of the U.S. Military," said Brig. Gen. Brian Collins. "Today we are grieving because a friend, a fellow soldier, is being laid to rest."

During the funeral service a the First Baptist Church of Dadeville, Collins said Harrelson had been awarded both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

"Today I have the awesome responsibility and privilege to present the family with these awards," Collins said. "These are but a small token of appreciation of a grateful nation."

Harrelson, 19, died July 17 in Baghdad from wounds he received when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. He had been serving in Iraq since May. He served with the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kan.

"He was always wanting to be a part of things and to help," said Rev. Ken Griffith, Harrelson's former pastor who knew him as a child.

Harrelson's brother, Christopher Baker, who served a tour in Iraq as a sergeant with the U.S. Marines, said his family was deeply saddened at the loss of their loved one, but was also proud that his brother gave his life in the service of his country.

"He considered it his duty," Baker said. "He believed in serving his country."

Friends and family gathered for the burial at Hillview Memorial Park in Alexander City, which was also attended by more than 20 Patriot Guard Riders on their motorcycles.

From the Daily Comet

Related Link:
Spanky Harrelson comes home

Related Link:
Spanky (James J.) Harrelson dies 'of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device'