Saturday, September 29, 2007, Sergeant Eddie Jeffers’ body was laid to rest at Memorial Gardens in Daleville, Alabama. The funeral was held at Patterson-Sorrells Funeral Home in Enterprise, Alabama and my family is so grateful for the wonderful ceremony they performed for Eddie. The family received many awards and commendations for Eddie and the presenters sincerity and shared grief was comforting.
We were told that there would be 70-80 Patriot Guards showing up on their motorcycles with American flags waving from their powerful bikes; there were 127 according to their ride capain! It was some sight to drive up to the funeral home and see all those bikes at the gas station across the street. It was so moving to walk up the sidewalk and shake the hands of some 60 of the Guards and personally thank them for showing up. It was majestic to look out in front of us in the funeral procession to see dozens of motorcyles leading the way to Eddie’s gravesite. A quick glance in the rearview mirror revealed dozens of cars following and then dozens more Patriot Guards bringing up the rear. When we got to the cemetary, the Guard were waiting for us. The Guard who broke formation and rode alone representing Eddie was a dear friend name Bill who lived across the hall from me in Heidelberg, Germany some 20 years ago and had changed Eddie’s diapers. The police escort, the blocking off of every intersection along the way, the cars pulling over, the many fine Americans standing alongside the road, all paid tremendous tribute to Eddie.
The grave side ceremony was so overwhelming; the precision and professionalism of the honor guard as fine as I’ve ever seen. The presiding officer, normally a captain or a major, was the two-star general who commands Fort Rucker and the Army Aviation Center. He presented Stephanie, Tina (Eddie’s mother), and me a flag and was so gracious, sincere, and strong. The firing of the gun salute and the playing of Taps was very emotional, but my breaking point was when the flag covering the casket was folded. It just overwhelmed me with more emotions than I can describe.
My son would have been proud to see his ceremony; had he been in attendance for another soldier, he would have said “They did that soldier right.”
They did my boy right.