Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jaron Holliday laid to rest

TULSA — Jaron Duvall Holliday sent his mother, Kelly Holliday, flowers from Iraq.

They arrived at her Broken Arrow home after he was killed when an improvised explosive device erupted on the Humvee he was riding in south of Baghdad.

That was just a glimpse into the life of Cpl. Holliday, 21. More than 900 people filled the sanctuary at the Tulsa Bible Church in south Tulsa during a ceremony dubbed, "A Home-going Celebration.”

Soldiers flanked the flag-draped casket at the front of the sanctuary. Members of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery at Fort Sill served as pallbearers at Memorial Park Cemetery.

An Army major general attended the service, as did officers from the Air Force and Navy.

The Patriot Guards served as escorts for the family and procession, nearly two miles long, from church to cemetery.

"I am so proud of my grandson,” Claudette Seals said.

Holliday "didn't mind doing something that took sacrifice and courage,” said Larry C. Lott, a Nazarene pastor who officiated the service.

"He made beautiful music,” said Nathan Wallace, an honorary pallbearer.

Holliday began piano lessons when he was 8 and later received first-place honors in a state competition.

"He did not die for naught,” said one of the about 30 people at the service who stood to make comments about Holliday.

A soldier said, "I had the honor to be in his platoon.”

"Where did Jaron get that courage to be a hero and want to fight and protect the freedom that Americans enjoy?” another asked.

"A bubbly personality,” was the way Holliday was described by a representative of his 2004 class of the Christian Home Educators Fellowship.

A representative of the World War II Veterans of Tulsa said, "You got me all choked up,” when the mourners applauded his presentation of a plaque in Holliday's honor to the family.

In a written remembrance, his brother Joshua, said, "Jaron, you were the best. You've always been there for me.”

Another brother, Jeremiah, said, "You're the best brother I ever had. You're awesome.”

Jaron Holliday was one of eight children.

From the Oklahoman

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Jaron Holliday remembered by friends

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Jaron Holliday remembered by family

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Jaron D. Holliday dies 'when the vehicle he was in struck an IED during combat operations'