Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sadly, my oldest brother (Lee Earl) was buried today in Alabama Naional Cemetery in Montevallo, it's considered the "Arlington of the South." As an honorable decorated Vietnam veteran, an Army buglar sounded "Taps" and a U.S. flag was presented by the Honor Guard to the family as well as a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Dignitaries gently placed his cremated remains in the burial plot. It was a lovely tribute to his sacrifices made for our country.
As a lifetime member of 101st Airborne Division, Lee (Earl) earned numerous medal of honors as an Army Sergeant including: Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Army Commendation medal, Vietnam Service medal (with one Silver Service star and 3 Bronze Service stars), Combat Infantry badge, National Defense Service medal, Vietnam Campaign ribbon, Vietnam Conflict Gallantry cross with Palm Unit Citation badge, Vietnam Civil Actions Honor medal, First Class unit citation, and Parachute badge. He for survived a helicopter crash in which he endured a head injury and ear surgery. He pulled out/rescued many soldiers before the fire consumed the vessel. He marched through dangerous rice fields and managed to avoid land mines (thanks to my mother who didn't let a day go by without praying for him). During his military service, he brought many to safety.
For those who did not know him, you should know how creative and talented he was. He could conceptualize an idea and bring it to fruitition. He loved inventing and he built two of his own homes and designed the blue-prints. He designed and layed out all his own landscaping complete with gazebo and rock wall overlooking a waterfall and creek. He was a master wood craftsman and a jewelry designer. He was a collector of old coins, civil war paraphernalia, old jewelry, and silver pieces. He was also an avid University of Alabama football fan. In his health, he was highly energetic, productive, and ambitious.
He served as a long-time employee of the U.S. Corps of Engineers (15 years as a civilian), in charge of million $ projects such as building bridges and roads and helping with major hurricane disasters along the Gulf Coast. Divorced in 1997, he fathered three beautiful daughters: Michelle, Raquelle, & Rachel.
He was a no-nonsense kind of guy with a lot of practical know-how. He approached life with gusto and verve. I miss him immensely, his memory will sustain me. May he rest in peace.