Update: The tribute to read is the one composed by my friend Caleb Howe, himself a former United States Marine.
Daris Long, father and former Marine, stood behind his son’s casket wearing a red Marine Corps baseball cap and military medals on his chest and read aloud the letter he had planned to give his son on the day of his deployment. He spoke of duty, readiness, committment. “Your day only ends when you’ve done your duty,” he read with emotion. “You and your brother … are both heroes for having the moral courage to stand up when your country needs you most. You are in my hopes and my thoughts and my prayers. You are my son, you are my hero. I love you. Semper fidelis.”
Pvt. William Long did his duty. His day ends with honor. And we honor him.
Amen. The Republic has lost one of her true sons, long before his time. And the voice of his blood cries out from the land.
Pvt. William Long was to have been on his way to his first posting Monday when, instead, he was being eulogized in his hometown.
Long, from Conway, was killed June 1 outside the Army-Navy Career Center in west Little Rock where he had volunteered to tell others about his military experience. A Muslim convert once imprisoned in Yemen has pleaded not guilty to capital murder in Long's death. He allegedly told police he targeted Army personnel "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past."
About 200 people packed into the Harlan Park Baptist Church for the service.