Saturday, September 08, 2007

Edward Brooks laid to rest

A small buffalo patch on retired Army Sgt. First Class Stanley Andrews' uniform caught the curious eye of then-Junior ROTC student Edward Brooks.

He asked his ROTC instructor at Colonel White School for the Arts what it meant.

"If you want to know, look it up," Stanley told him, recalling the exchange Friday as he remembered Brooks, a 25-year-old Army soldier who died in Iraq last week.

The high school student did look it up and came back two days later with a five-page report on the history of the 9th and 10th Cavalry units.

Before that, the crest had never held much meaning for Andrews. But Brooks' report sparked his own curiosity in wanting to learn more about the Buffalo Soldiers, black U.S. army regiments commissioned by Congress to patrol the American West after the Civil War.

Andrews told mourners gathered at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church that Brooks has joined thousands of American soldiers who have given their lives in defense of their country and will be remembered by those "who have had the great honor to have passed their trail in history."

The former JROTC instructor at Colonel White, since renamed Thurgood Marshall High School, was among several people who spoke in tribute to the young soldier, including Joseph Duverglas, who said his grandson had served three tours of duty and was wounded three times.

His brother, Darryl Duverglas Jr., himself an Army soldier, said after the funeral that his brother was first injured in a tank explosion in 2003. On a second tour, he nearly lost his arm, he said.

On Aug. 29, he died after being wounded by an improvised explosive device. On Friday, Army Brig. Gen. Patricia McQuistion presented the family with a second Purple Heart.

Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Percy Mack read a poem titled "No, Freedom Isn't Free" before he read a proclamation honoring "our fallen son."

Mack said Brooks had been a standout in the school district for his work as a student and being an award-winning leader on the Junior ROTC drill team.

Brooks' other JROTC instructor, Major Odell W. Graves, said the program's goal is to prepare young men and women to be good citizens, not to prepare them for war.

"We have generations of leaders," he said. "Edward L. Brooks was one of them."

Rev. Andre Hayes asked those sitting in the pews to stand together and salute Brooks, "a man who stood for something."

Brooks was promoted posthumously from specialist to sergeant.

Motorists pulled over to pay respect as the funeral procession traveled two miles to Dayton National Cemetery, where Brooks was buried with full military honors.

From the Dayton Daily News

Related Link:
Edward L. Brooks dies 'of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device'