About 200 people packed into the Harlan Park Baptist Church for the service.
Standing behind his son’s open, flag-draped casket, Long’s father, Daris Long, read a letter he’d planned to give to his son before his son deployed to South Korea.
Choking up at times, Long told his son to learn his skills quickly, as the chance remained that North Korea could invade South Korea.
“Your day only ends when you’ve done your duty,” the father said, tears in his eyes.
He placed the letter in the casket. Long was to have deployed on what turned out to be the day of his funeral.
[ . . . ]
Gov. Mike Beebe attended the service. Before the proceedings began, Beebe expressed shock that someone would target the American military so far from the battlefield.
“As bad as it is, people understand when a soldier is killed in combat in a war zone like Iraq or Afghanistan,” Beebe said outside the church.
“It’s a little different — shock I guess is the best way to say it — when one is killed right here at home; targeted because he had a uniform on,” Beebe said.
Beebe said that Long’s family was “devastated but obviously very proud of their son.”
Long was to be buried at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock, next to World War II veteran Matthew Leon Summerville. Tombstones in the cemetery include the various conflicts in which a veteran served — World War II, Vietnam, Korea, for example. Long’s family will be allowed to select what to list on his tombstone.
You could well argueas I did previously that Private Long was the victim of the first relatively clear-cut and successful jihadist attack in the U.S. since September 11th, 2001. But you certainly wouldn’t know it to read the papers.
May Pvt. William Long rest in peace. Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula was wounded in the same attack, and may he enjoy a full recovery.